Workers have successfully released a colossal container ship that has been stuck sideways across the Suez Canal for almost a week, a canal service company said.
Leth Agencies announced that the ship had been made afloat again on Monday.
With the help of the flood, a flotilla of tugs managed to tear the bow of the skyscraper-sized Ever Given from the sandy ridge of the crucial waterway, where it had been anchored since last Tuesday.
Tugs pulled the ship towards Great Bitter Lake in the middle of the waterway, where it will be inspected.
A Reuters witness saw the ship move and a shipping tracker and Egyptian television showed it was in the middle of the canal.
The 400-meter-long Ever Given was clamped diagonally across the canal in strong winds last Tuesday, blocking the way for hundreds of ships waiting to cross the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship was stranded.
It was feared that the giant ship would last for weeks and could be complicated by unstable weather, threatening costly delays for companies already addressing Covid-19 restrictions.
All 25 crew members who stayed on board are in good health and in a good mood in safety, said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), said the technical manager of Ever Given.
At least 369 ships were waiting to cross the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA chair Osama Rabie told Egyptian Extra News on Sunday.
Had the ship got stuck, the shippers might have decided to reroute the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to voyages and additional fuel costs.
That would have cost hundreds of tons more fuel and significantly delayed the transport of goods.
Three shipping agents announced on Saturday that none of the ships waiting at the canal entrances had requested a diversion.
About 15% of the world’s shipping traffic passes through the Suez Canal, which is an important source of foreign currency income for Egypt.
If efforts to clear the ship of the mud this week had proved unsuccessful, some of its 600 containers would have had to be removed.
This process would have taken weeks.
The delay not only disrupted shipping and cost money, but also claimed the lives of dozen of sheep kept in the holds of Ever Given and other boats.