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2021 Suez Canal obstruction

2021 maritime incident

Top 8 2021 Suez Canal obstruction related articles

2021 Suez Canal obstruction
Satellite image of Ever Given blocking the canal
Date23 March 2021 (2021-03-23)–present
Time07:40 EST (05:40 UTC)
LocationSuez Canal, Egypt
Coordinates30°01′03″N 32°34′48″E / 30.0175°N 32.5800°E / 30.0175; 32.5800Coordinates: 30°01′03″N 32°34′48″E / 30.0175°N 32.5800°E / 30.0175; 32.5800[1]
TypeShip grounding
CauseSandstorm, high winds

On 23 March 2021 at 07:40 EET (UTC+2), a 400-metre-long (1,300 ft) container ship, Ever Given, ran aground in the Suez Canal in Egypt.[2] The ship was buffeted by a sandstorm and blown by strong winds of up to 50 kilometres per hour (27 knots), causing it to lose control.[3] The vessel collided with the bottom of the canal and got stuck, completely obstructing the canal and preventing any vessels from passing through.[4] At least 15 other vessels are being held at anchorages and some 150 ships are queueing to pass through the canal while the situation is being resolved.[5][6] As of 26 March 2021, the vessel is still wedged in the canal.[7]


The Ever Given is a Golden-class container ship, one of the largest container ships in the world. She was laid down on 25 December 2015, launched 9 May 2018, and completed 25 September 2018.[8] She is owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha, a subsidiary of Imabari Shipbuilding, and operated by Evergreen Marine. The vessel is registered in Panama.[9]

Captain Bill Kavanagh, a National Maritime College of Ireland lecturer and former captain, has described sailing through the Suez Canal as "a very complex and high risk operation" where a gust of wind against the shipping containers "will act like a sail", which in a ship as heavy as the Ever Given will build up a momentum creating a movement that is difficult to stop.[10]

In the years prior to the incident, there had been numerous instances of ships running aground in the Suez Canal. On 25 February 2016, the bulk carrier New Katerina ran aground in the canal while traveling from Ukraine to Qingdao. New Katarina was refloated after twelve days; traffic in the canal was not affected during this period.[11] On 28 April 2016, the container ship MSC Fabiola ran aground at Great Bitter Lake after experiencing engine problems, forcing canal officials to temporarily suspend all northbound convoys and stop all southbound convoys in the canal. MSC Fabiola was refloated on 30 April, and continued through the canal.[12][13] On 17 July 2018, the container ship Aeneas ran aground in the canal, resulting in a collision involving the three bulkers behind it: Sakizaya Kalon, Panamax Alexander, and Osios David.[14][15] Most of these incidents had a relatively minor effect on traffic in the Suez Canal.

At the time of the incident, the Ever Given was traveling to Rotterdam from Tanjung Pelepas, carrying 20,000 shipping containers of goods onboard.[16][17] She was fifth in a northbound convoy, with fifteen vessels behind her when she ran aground.[5]

2021 Suez Canal obstruction Background articles: 15


On 23 March 2021, at 07:40 EST (UTC+2), the Ever Given was traveling through the Suez Canal when it was caught in a sandstorm. The strong wind, which reached 74 km/h (40 knots), resulted in the "loss of the ability to steer the ship", causing the hull to deviate.[2][16][18] The Ever Given then ran aground at the 151 km (82 nmi) mark, and turned sideways unable to free itself, blocking the canal on both ends.[2]

Over 200 vessels on both sides of the canal were obstructed by Ever Given, including five other container ships of similar size.[19] The affected vessels represented roughly 16.9 million tonnes of deadweight.[19] Some docked at ports and anchorages in the area, while many remained in place. The ships in the area range from small cargo vessels to large ships, including the Russian Navy Altay-class oiler Kola, which had been involved in a minor collision with another vessel earlier that day.[20][21][22]

2021 Suez Canal obstruction Incident articles: 5


External image
Workers at the bow of Ever Given [23]

Officials plan to move two vessels from behind the Ever Given to make room for the refloating operation. Fuel, ballast water, and several containers were removed from the ship to help lighten it as heavy machinery worked to dig the bow out.[24] Eight tugboats are assisting in the attempt to pull her free.[25] An excavator was also used to free the front end of the cargo ship.[26] Peter Berdowski, Chief Executive of Royal Boskalis Westminster, stated that the operation "can take days to weeks."[27]

On 24 March, various news outlets reported that the Gulf Agency Company (GAC) stated the Ever Given had been partially refloated and was alongside the canal bank, and that traffic through the canal would reopen soon.[9][28] However, GAC's Egypt office refuted the claim, clarifying the reports were inaccurate.[29][30]

On 25 March, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) suspended navigation through the Suez Canal until the Ever Given could be refloated.[31][32]

2021 Suez Canal obstruction Response articles: 4

Economic impact

About 12 percent of total global trade moves through the Suez Canal. Experts have warned that this incident will likely result in shipping delays of everyday items for consumers around the world.[33] Lloyd's List estimates that every day it takes to clear the obstruction will disrupt an additional US$9 billion worth of goods.[19][34] Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, attributed a rise in oil prices to "people buying in after recent declines in oil prices, with the Suez closing the trigger factor", and James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics said that due to existing stocks "a few days of slowdown in [oil] delivery is not critical to the market".[35] Maritime transport specialist Camille Egloff of the Boston Consulting Group noted that "all traffic arriving from Asia goes through the Suez Canal" making it an "absolutely critical" passage, but with respect to oil, there were other supply sources.[36] Others noted that the event will only delay goods, which might only impact industries with existing shortages such as with semiconductors. To mitigate shortages of goods in the long term, it has been stated that future shipments can be ordered earlier than normal until the difference has been made up.[35][36] However, a consultant at another firm noted that even a short-term disruption at the Suez Canal would have a domino effect for several months along the supply chain.[37]

2021 Suez Canal obstruction Economic impact articles: 5

See also

  • Yellow Fleet, a group of fifteen ships trapped in the Suez Canal, from 1967 to 1975, as a result of the Israel-Egypt Six-Day War


  1. ^ "Ever Given: Container Ship, IMO 9811000". Vessel Finder. Archived 25 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Samaan, Magdy; Deng, Shawn; El Sirgany, Sarah; Salem, Mostafa; Said-Moorhouse, Lauren. "Suez Canal blocked by traffic jam after massive container ship runs aground". CNN. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  3. ^ Martin, Ken (24 March 2021). "Suez Canal blocked as massive cargo ship turns sideways". FOXBusiness. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Container ship facts: Egypt's Suez Canal blocked by massive boat". BBC. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b Uria, Daniel (23 March 2021). "Grounded container ship blocks traffic on Suez Canal". United Press International. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  6. ^ Sharman, Jon (25 March 2021). "150 ships queueing as Ever Given remains stuck in Suez Canal – follow live". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  7. ^ Stevens, Pippa (24 March 2021). "Ever Given, the massive cargo ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal, is still stuck". CNBC. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  8. ^ "ABS: American Bureau of Shipping". www.eagle.org. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Giant ship blocking Suez canal partially refloated". the Guardian. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  10. ^ Fox, Jackie (25 March 2021). "Irish expert describes 'high-risk' transit of Suez Canal". RTÉ. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Grounded Bulker Refloated in Suez Canal". The Maritime Executive. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Grounded Container Ship Blocks Suez Canal". The Maritime Executive. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Grounded Container Ship in Suez Canal Refloated". The Maritime Executive. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Multiple ship groundings and collisions lead to Suez Canal chaos". www.ship-technology.com. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Multi-Vessel Pileup in Suez Canal". The Maritime Executive. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Egypt's Suez Canal blocked by huge container ship". BBC News. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Suez Canal Blocked a Second Full Day". Voice of America. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  18. ^ Wang, Cindy; Park, Kyunghee; Lee, Annie (23 March 2021). "Suez Canal Snarled With Giant Ship Stuck in Top Trade Artery". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  19. ^ a b c Meade, Richard (25 March 2021). "Suez blockage extends as salvors fail to free Ever Given". Lloyd's List. Retrieved 25 March 2021. Rough calculations suggest westbound traffic is worth around $5.1bn daily while eastbound traffic is worth $4.5bn.
  20. ^ "Bulk carrier collided with Russian Navy tanker off Suez | KOLA - Flee…". archive.is. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  21. ^ "KOLA (Oil Products Tanker) Registered in Russia - Vessel details, Cur…". archive.is. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  22. ^ "KOLA, Oil Products Tanker - Details and current position - IMO 672000…". archive.is. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  23. ^ https://archive.is/20210325195725/https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2021/03/were-going-to-need-a-smaller-boat/618414/
  24. ^ Paris, Costas; Faucon, Benoit (25 March 2021). "Suez Canal Backlog Grows as Efforts Resume to Free Trapped Ship". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  25. ^ "Suez Canal suspends traffic as tug boats work to free ship: Live". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Dislodging the huge ship blocking the Suez Canal could take 'days to weeks,' as the traffic jam builds". CNN. 25 March 2021.
  27. ^ Hebron, Herbert F. (25 March 2021). "Refloating the Suez Canal can take weeks: 'Very heavy whale on the beach' | NOW | EN24 News". en24news. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  28. ^ "Grounded Suez Canal vessel partly refloated: Update 2". www.argusmedia.com. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Container ship stranded in Suez Canal still stuck, says marine agent GAC". Reuters. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Suez Canal: Authorities 'working to refloat' Ever Given, grounded container ship blocking Egyptian channel". Sky News. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  31. ^ "Suez Canal suspends traffic as tug boats work to free ship: Live". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  32. ^ "Suez Canal suspends traffic in bid to refloat ship". RTE. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  33. ^ Popken, Ben (25 March 2021). "'Anything you see in the stores' could be affected by Canal logjam, shipping experts say". NBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  34. ^ "Shipping losses mount from cargo vessel stuck in Suez Canal". AP NEWS. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  35. ^ a b Saefong, Myra P. "Why the blockage of the Suez Canal matters for oil prices". MarketWatch. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  36. ^ a b "What are the consequences of Suez Canal incident?". RTÉ. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  37. ^ The Associated Press (25 March 2021). "Ship stuck in Suez Canal disrupting nearly $10B of goods every day as 150-boat backlog grows". CBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2021.