Ship in Suez Canal has been freed

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 0155 GMT (0955 HKT) March 30, 2021
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10:18 a.m. ET, March 29, 2021

The ship has been fully dislodged and is currently floating, Suez Canal Authority says

From CNN's Magdy Samaan, Mick Krever, Ben Wedeman and Mostafa Salem

The container ship 'Ever Given' is seen moving in the Suez Canal, Egypt, on March 29.
The container ship 'Ever Given' is seen moving in the Suez Canal, Egypt, on March 29. Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The ship blocking the Suez Canal has been fully dislodged on Monday afternoon, a Suez Canal Authority spokesperson told CNN. 

Tugs were working to free the bow of the ship after dislodging the stern Monday morning. 

Marine traffic websites showed images of the ship away from the banks of the Suez Canal for the first time in seven days.

"Yes!" said the salvage company Boskalis spokesperson Martijn Schuttevaer when asked by CNN if the bow was free.

Egypt state TV showed the ship fully floating. 

9:07 a.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Authorities have temporarily suspended efforts to free front of container ship as high tide fades

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem, Mick Krever and Lina El Wardani

A view of the 'Ever-Given' container ship as it remains lodged sideways impeding traffic across Egypt's Suez Canal waterway, on March 29.
A view of the 'Ever-Given' container ship as it remains lodged sideways impeding traffic across Egypt's Suez Canal waterway, on March 29. Ahmed Hasan/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities have temporarily suspended efforts to free the front of the Ever Given container ship as the window for high tide faded on Monday afternoon, Egyptian local media said. 

A live shot on state media showed tug boats pulling the ship in an attempt to free the front or bow, which is still stuck “rock solid” as per the description of the CEO of a salvage company working to free the ship, Peter Berdowski.

The efforts to pull the ship out will resume later in the day, a reporter said on a local media newscast.

Despite the delay in fully dislodging the ship, Egypt’s President issued a statement Monday saying “Egyptians have successfully managed to end the crisis of the stranded ship.”

“[Egyptians] were able to get things back on track,” he said in a presidential statement on Facebook.

Dozens of ships that planned to travel through the Suez Canal are instead rerouting to the Cape of Good Hope around Africa, adding 8 days of sailing time and expending an additional 500 tons or so of fuel, Lloyds List Intelligence said.

However, more than 350 ships carrying billions of dollars’ worth of freight still await transit through the canal. 

It could take days for the backlogged ships to successfully transit, but the head of the Suez Canal Authority said in an interview with Sky News Arabia that “they will work 24 hours” a day to allow the vessels to transit.

The maximum passages per day on average through the Suez Canal for the past three months were 80 to 90 vessels, as per data from Lloyds List.

8:49 a.m. ET, March 29, 2021

World's largest shipping company says it could take 6 days or more to clear Suez Canal backlog

From Charles Riley and Pamela Boykoff

Stranded ships wait in queue in the Gulf of Suez to cross the Suez Canal at its southern entrance near the Red Sea port city of Suez on March 27, as the waterway remains blocked by the Panama-flagged container ship "MV Ever Given".
Stranded ships wait in queue in the Gulf of Suez to cross the Suez Canal at its southern entrance near the Red Sea port city of Suez on March 27, as the waterway remains blocked by the Panama-flagged container ship "MV Ever Given". Mahmoud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images

Shipping Giant Maersk has issued an advisory telling customers it could take “6 days or more” for the queue created by the Suez canal blockage to pass. The company said that was an estimate and subject to change as more vessels reach the blockage or are diverted. 

Maersk currently has 3 vessels stuck in the canal, 30 waiting to enter and has redirected 15 to Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.

“These decisions were made close to the point of no return and it is expected that they will continue via the south of Africa, also to reduce the number of vessels in the queue,” the advisory said. 

Maersk expects the long term impact of the blockage could take months to resolve. “Even when the canal gets reopened, the ripple effects on global capacity and equipment are significant and the blockage has already triggered a series of further disruptions and backlogs in global shipping that could take weeks, possibly months, to unravel.” 

8:36 a.m. ET, March 29, 2021

The ship stuck in the Suez Canal has been partially dislodged — but it's not fully free yet

From CNN's Asmaa Khalil, Mostafa Salem, Magdy Samaan and Jessie Yeung

A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 29, 2021, shows tugboats pulling the Panama-flagged MV 'Ever Given' container ship lodged sideways impeding traffic across Egypt's Suez Canal waterway.
A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 29, 2021, shows tugboats pulling the Panama-flagged MV 'Ever Given' container ship lodged sideways impeding traffic across Egypt's Suez Canal waterway. Handout/Suez Canal Authority/AFP/Getty Images

The Ever Given container ship has been partially dislodged after blocking the Suez Canal for almost a week, authorities say, but efforts to fully refloat it are likely to continue for some time.

There were promising signs early Monday when the rear of the vessel was freed from one of the canal's banks, but the boss of the Dutch company working on the operation says its bow is still stuck "rock solid."

Egyptian officials struck a more optimistic note, saying that crews plan to refloat the vessel later Monday. But the shipping crisis that has dominated headlines and captured the world's attention for a week appears destined to continue.

About the ship: The Ever Given, a 224,000-ton vessel almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall, ran aground in the Egyptian canal on March 23. Crews from Egypt and around the world have been working nonstop to try to refloat the ship, with the operation involving 10 tug boats, sand dredges and salvage companies.

Previous efforts have failed — but this latest attempt is being executed during high tide where the water in the channel is at its highest.

The massive salvage effort has focused on dredging sand from below the front and rear of the ship, before pulling the ship with tugboats.

Rescue teams started digging deeper and closer to the ship on Sunday, with dredging reaching 18 meters (or about 59 feet) at the front of the ship, the SCA said in a statement. Over 27,000 cubic meters (953,000 cubic feet) of sand has been removed so far, said Rabie.

The rescue operation has intensified in both urgency and international attention as each day ticked by. Ships from around the world, carrying vital fuel and cargo, were blocked from entering the canal on both sides, raising alarm over the impact on global supply chains.