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The Ever Given cargo ship is still blocking the Suez Canal as of dispatch, with the Suez Canal Authority closing down the waterway until the ship is freed, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) chairman Osama Rabie announced in a statement today. The authority had deployed this morning eight large tugboats in another attempt to dislodge the ship, he added.
No consensus on when things might start moving again: Some are expecting the ship to be dislodged soon, including the former head of Navigation Control at the SCA Mohamed Fawzy, who told Enterprise today that it may happen as soon as tomorrow. But some global experts beg to differ. The best chance for freeing the ship may not come until Sunday or Monday, when the tide reaches a peak, Bloomberg reports citing big ship rescue experts. If that window is missed, the next opportunity would be another 12 to 14 days away, when tides are expected to swell again, they added.
“We can’t exclude it might take weeks [to free the ship], depending on the situation,” Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis, which is trying to free the ship, told a Dutch TV program that
Hundreds of ships are still waiting to get through: Bloomberg’s latest tally puts the number of ships waiting to pass through at 185 (same as yesterday). Cargo ships waiting in line behind Ever Given will most likely be turned south back to Port Suez, in order to free the channel, AP reports, citing canal services provider Leth Agencies.
The world is still trying to count the cost of the fiasco: Currently, it is disrupting USD 9.6 bn worth of goods daily from travelling through the canal, Bloomberg cites shipping journal Lloyd’s List. Concerns over the disruption also caused oil prices to fall back after surging 6% on Wednesday, the news agency says. Expecting the fallout to last for days, the stuck ship is a new pressure point for a global supply chain already strained from winter and spring weather impacting infrastructure in the US, and a global shortage in microchips, the Wall Street Journal writes reports.
Commodities price boom to get a boost from this? The Ever Given disruption may uplift the tanker rates and commodity prices, senior vice president for equity research at financial services company Jeffries Randy Giveans told AP. Such disruptions are usually of benefit to the owners and the commodity being transported, as it forces tanker rates and crude prices to shoot up, he explains.
What’s an apology worth? Japanese owner of the ship Shoei Kisen apologized “for causing a great deal of concern” today, saying it was working towards a resolution of the situation in a statement (Japanese). Shoei Kisen KK could face claims from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) for loss of revenue and canal damage, and from other ships for passage disruption, Reuters reports citing industry sources.
FURTHER READING- Groundings are the most common cause of shipping incidents in the Suez Canal, Reuters cites Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty (ACGN), adding that 25 groundings had happened in the canal in the past 10 years.