Stranded Suez Canal ship re-floated, undergoing checks

SATELLITE IMAGE ©2021 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES / AFP

The stranded container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week was almost fully re-floated on Monday and has restarted its engines, a shipping source with knowledge of the matter said.

The 400-metre long Ever Given has been straightened in the canal and will undergo initial inspections before being moved, two sources said.

Video posted on social media appeared to show the ship's stern had swung around, opening space in the canal. Other footage, which could not be immediately verified by Reuters, included cheering and ships' horns sounding in celebration.

Ship-tracking service VesselFinder has changed the ship's status to under way on its website.

The Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early on Tuesday, halting shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

At least 369 vessels were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie told Egypt's Extra News on Sunday.

Earlier on Monday, marine services firm Inchcape Shipping Services said the ship had been successfully re-floated at 4.30 am local time (0230 GMT) and was being secured.

The ship's technical manager Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Egypt's Leth Agencies tweeted the ship had been partially refloated, pending official confirmation from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

The Suez Canal salvage teams intensified excavation and dredging on Sunday and were hoping a high tide would help them dislodge the ship.

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