Suez Canal Commander: ‘Technical or human errors’ may have caused a boat to land

SUEZ, Egypt (AFP) – The head of Egypt’s Suez Canal said Saturday that “technical or human errors” could be behind the landing of a large carrier blocking the critical waterway, causing backlash. -support of over 300 vessels.

Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, told reporters in Suez that the boat could be gone again before Sunday night.

The crisis has reduced global supply chains, prompting companies to consider the expensive option of redirecting vessels around southern Africa.

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Officials had previously blamed 40-knot gusts and a sandstorm that blocked visibility, but Rabie said Saturday that “strong winds and weather factors were not the main reasons the ship sank – perhaps that there were technical or human errors. ”

Osama Rabie, Head of the Suez Canal Authority, will speak at a news release on the cargo ship ‘Ever Given’ on the canal, in Suez, Egypt, 27 March 2021. (Ahmed Hasan / AFP)

But he sang a hopeful note when asked when the ship would be released.

“We could finish today or tomorrow [Saturday or Sunday], depending on how sensible the ship is ”at high tide, he said.

Billions of dollars worth of goods are now suspended at each end of the vital shipping chain linking Asia and Europe.

An aerial view shows ships stretched out in the Red Sea, as the cargo ship ‘Ever Given’ is still docked on both sides of the Suez Canal in Egypt, 27 March 2021. (Mahmoud Khaled / AFP)

That has led goods companies to decide whether to wait out or take the longer, more expensive route around the Cape of Good Hope – at a cost of up to an extra 12 days at sea.

Egypt is also losing about $ 12-14 million in revenue from the waterway for every day it is closed, Rabie said.

The MV Ever Given, which has more than four football pitches, was abruptly rolled over the canal’s wide expanse from Tuesday, closing the canal on all sides.

When does it move?

The canal boss’ timeline erupted comments Friday from the ship’s owners, but the rescue company’s parent company was less optimistic.

Yukito Higaki, president of the Japanese company Shoei Kisen that owns the vessel, told local media on Friday that the vessel could be freed from the canal bed by the end of Saturday.

But executive director Royal Boskalis, Smit Salvage’s parent company in charge of the rescue operation, suggested the vessel could launch again “early next week.”

This photo, released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 25, 2021, shows a backhoe trying to unravel the ever-excavated ridge, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, which has circling over the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway. (Suez Canal Authority via AP)

“We’re already in the process of installing a crane onshore,” Peter Berdowski told a public television talk show late Friday.

“That will allow us to remove all the vessels from the foredeck, which could accommodate hundreds of vessels.”

But Nick Sloane, 59, a South African rescue master responsible for restoring the Costa Concordia submarine in Italy, said it would take time to use a crane to remove vessels.

“If they have to do that, there will be a very long delay,” he said.

The blockage has caused both Red and Mediterranean Sea vessels to carry large numbers of the 193-kilometer (120-mile) long canal, causing significant delays in oil delivery. and other results.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement – the ship’s technical manager – said efforts were focused on “scraping to remove sand and mud from the port side of the ship’s bow.”

Rescue teams worked through the night, using floodlights and a large dredger.

Stakes ‘too high’

But the ship with a total tonnage of 219,000 and a dead weight of 199,000 has not yet sunk, forcing global shipping giant Maersk and German Hapag-Lloyd to look into reorientation around Africa.

“Shipping companies are being forced to defy the promise of taking the much longer route around the Cape of Good Hope to get to Europe or the east coast of North America,” said List Lloyd, a data company and shipping news.

“The first carrier to do this is Evergreen’s Ever Greet… sister to Ever Given,” he said.

The Lloyd’s List said the blockage maintained a value of about $ 9.6 billion per day between Asia and Europe.

This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows the MV Ever cargo ship delivered locked in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, March 27, 2021. (© Maxar Technologies via AP)

The canal authority has stated that between 15,000 and 20,000 cubic meters of sand would have to be removed to reach a depth of 12-16 meters and to regenerate the vessel.

If these attempts fail, rescue crews will try to download some of the Ever Given cargo and take advantage of a spring high tide, which is set to begin Sunday night, to move the ship.

Plamen Natzkoff, an expert at VesselsValue, said teams would be likely to throw even more resources behind their efforts in the coming days to make the most of that opportunity.

“If they can’t make it through that high tide, there is no next high tide for another two weeks, and that will be a problem,” he said.

“The stakes are too high for it to take months.”

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