BSM reports fresh attempts to refloat containership in Suez Canal
Efforts to refloat the huge containership blocking Egypt’s Suez Canal are now focused on dredging and removing sand and mud from around the vessel’s bow, according to Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.
The global maritime solutions company, which has an office in Bermuda, is the technical manager of the 400-metre long Ever Given, which since Tuesday has been stuck at an angle in the 205m-wide waterway that links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
The blockage has disrupted one of the world’s most important maritime trade routes, which is used by an average of 50 vessels travelling between Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The Suez Canal is 120 miles long and 24m deep.
A spokesperson for Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), said a team of expert salvors from Smit Salvage had been appointed and are attending to the grounded 200,000-tonne vessel.
In addition to sand dredgers already on site “a specialised suction dredger is now with the vessel and will shortly begin work. This dredger can shift 2,000 cubic metres of material every hour”, the spokesperson said.
“At the time of the incident the Ever Given was transiting northbound through the canal en route to Rotterdam, Netherlands with two canal pilots on-board. Initial investigations suggest the vessel grounded due to strong wind.
“All 25 crew are safe and accounted for. All crew are Indian nationals and remain on-board. The crew are working closely with all parties involved to refloat the vessel. The hard work and tireless professionalism of the Master and crew is greatly appreciated.”
The spokesperson said there had been no reports of pollution or cargo damage and initial investigations ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding
The ship is registered in Panama, and is operated by Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine. It is one of the largest containerships in the world.
Daniel Yergin, a global energy expert and vice-chairman of information and research firm IHS Markit, said: “Container ships are the foundation of the modern global economy, and the Suez Canal is the essential highway for the huge container ships from China, as well as the oil tankers from the Mideast, making their way to Europe and the United States.
”The canal is one of the most important chokepoints for world trade, providing the preferred route from Asia going west. And it has been choked before – but by war, shut down by the Suez Crisis of 1956 and, for eight years, in the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israel War. But this time it is a stranded ship, the Ever Given, that is putting a chokehold on one of the most crucial conduits for world trade at a time when that trade is already under pressure.”
The BSM spokesperson said the company was "grateful for the continued efforts of the Suez Canal Authority and those involved in ongoing refloating operations and BSM will continue to work closely with all parties involved in this operation“.