CAIRO, 25 March 2021 – Losses to global shipping mounted Thursday as efforts by dredgers, tugboats, and a backhoe failed Thursday to free the giant cargo ship wedged in Egypt’s Suez Canal.
The Evergreen, as the Panama-flagged vessel is called, ran aground Tuesday while carrying cargo between Asia and Europe.
More than 150 vessels were backed-up, waiting to enter the Suez Canal at the close of business Thursday.
The Japanese owner of the vessel offered a written apology to the world of shipping Thursday.
“We would like to apologize to all parties affected by this incident, including the ships traveling and planning to travel through Suez Canal,” said Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd.
The owners promised to “keep on working hard to resolve this situation as soon as possible”.
Fears grew as night fell on Thursday that freeing the skyscraper-high vessel may involve offloading some of the containers on the vessel.
Experts fear that if this were to be required, it could only prolong the closure of the canal.
It seems the bow of the ship may have plowed into the sandy banks of the canal.
A team from Boskalis, a Dutch firm specialized in salvaging, arrived at the canal Thursday, to help with freeing the vessel.
The Associated Press cited one of its top officials as warning that removing the vessel could take “days to weeks.”
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the company that manages the Evergreen, said they were focusing on dredging to remove sand and mud from around the port side of the vessel’s bow.
Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei, the head of the canal authority, said navigation through the man-made waterway would remain halted until the Evergreen is refloated.