File Photo: Egypt's Suez Canal (Photo:Ahram)
A total of 80 vessels are set to cross the Suez Canal in both directions on Friday with a total net tonnage of 4.7 million tons, a few days after a massive ship had blocked the narrow waterway for almost a week and disrupted trade.
The 400-metre-long Ever Given, which was on its way from China to the port city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, veered off course and ran aground diagonally while it was passing through the international trade route on 23 March.
The Japanese-owned ship was re-floated successfully on 29 March.
Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie said 43 ships crossed the canal from the north with a total net tonnage of 2.5 million tons.
Another 37 ships with a total net tonnage of 2.2 million tons crossed from the south, Rabie added.
During the day, many giant ships and maritime units are set to cross through the canal as the northern convoy, including the US aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower said Rabie.
The liquified natural gas (LNG) tanker LIJMILIYA, with a net tonnage of 171,000 tons, will also cross among the northern convoy, said Rabie. The tanker sails under the flag of Marshall Islands.
The southern convoy will include the crude oil tanker KIDAN with a total net tonnage of 164,000 tons.
The gigantic ship, which was wedged sideways across the waterway for six days, caused around 422 vessels to be queued at the waterway or at anchor awaiting transit through the canal.
Around 12 percent of all world trade passes through the canal.
Egypt said it will seek over $1 billion in compensation for the losses incurred from the blocking of the Suez Canal as well as the costs of re-floating the vessel.
According to TV statements by Rabie, the SCA will also ask to be reimbursed for the expenses of using dredgers and tugboats for the re-floating process.