(Reuters) "The giant container ship that has blocked the Suez Canal for more than a day has been partially flooded and traffic along the fastest shipping route from Europe to Asia is expected to resume soon," Navy Agent GAC said on Wednesday.
400 meters, 224,000 tons of Ever Given, ran aground on Tuesday morning after losing the ability to steer in the middle of strong winds and a dust storm, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement.
About 30% of global container ship traffic passes through the canal every day, carrying everything from fuel to consumer goods. The main alternative route for ships traveling between Asia and Europe, around the African cape, takes a week longer to navigate.
Pictures published on social media seemed to show the ship placed diagonally across the canal and blocked its full width. Photos shared by SCA showed an excavator removing soil and rock from the shore of the canal around the ship's arch.
GAC, a Dubai-based naval service company, said that Ever given had partially refluxed and moved along the Channel Bank. , with reference to information from SCA.
"Convoys and traffic are expected to resume as soon as the ship is towed to another position," GAC said on its website.
There was no immediate confirmation from SCA, but its chairman told local television that a southbound convoy was on the move and that the authority was trying to keep traffic flowing between waiting areas as best it could.
The authority considered compensation for delayed vessels, said President Osama Rabie.
Tracking maps had shown the ship grounded on the southernmost stretch of the waterway, between Great Bitter Lake and the Red Sea port of Suez.
At least 30 ships were blocked north of Ever Given and three in the south, local sources said. Several dozen ships could also be seen grouped around the northern and southern entrances to the canal.
Investigation in progress
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the ship's technical director, said that Ever Given had run aground in the canal around 05:40 GMT on Tuesday. It said an investigation is underway.
BSM, which handles the ship's crew and technical issues, said that the entire crew was safe and accountable and that no damage or pollution had been reported. They said they had informed the authorities and "interested parties", but that they could not confirm the ship's owner.
Taiwan's Evergreen Marine Corp., which leases the ship, said the shipowner had told the ship "was suspected of being hit by a sudden strong wind, which caused the hull to deviate from (the waterway) and accidentally hit the bottom."
The ship was probably insured for about $ 100 million, said Marcus Baker, global head of marine and cargo at insurance broker Marsh in London.
Oil prices rose more than 2% on Wednesday when news from Suez spurred delivery problems. "And gas flows will depend on how long it takes to clear the blockage," said sources.
As of Wednesday, five liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks could not pass through the canal due to the grounded container, according to Kpler.
Of the five, three were on their way to Asia and two to Europe, says Kpler analyst Rebecca Chia, who said that if congestion persists until the end of this week, it will be on operate transit of 15 LNG tankers.
In 2020, almost 19,000 ships, or an average of 51.5 per day, passed through the canal, according to SCA.
"It increases the risk that we may see additional port congestion in European ports next week," says Lars Jensen, CEO of SeaIntelligence Consulting.