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Stuck Container Ship in Suez Canal Could Soon Be Dislodged—Here’s the Plan

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A container ship that is blocking the Suez Canal could be refloated and moved on as early as today, according to the Japanese company that owns the ship. The stuck vessel has caused a significant international trade crisis.

The MV Ever Given has been lodged diagonally across the Suez Canal in Egypt since Tuesday and has resulted in a major backlog of shipping through the vital waterway.

Representatives of the ship’s owners, a company called Shoei Kisen Kaisha, gave a press conference in Japan on Friday in which they said there was no damage to the ship’s engines or instruments and held out hope that it could soon be moved.

“The ship is not taking water. There is no problem with its rudders and propellers. Once it refloats, it should be able to operate,” said Yukito Higaki, president of Shoei Kisen Kaisha.

The company is aiming to refloat the vessel “Saturday night Japan time.” Japan is 11 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast. Therefore, the ship could be refloated during Saturday morning or afternoon in the U.S. Egypt is six hours ahead of the East Coast.

“We are continuing work to remove sediment as of now, with additional dredging tools,” Higaki said, according to news agency news agency Asahi Shimbun.

The plan to refloat the Ever Given involves using machinery to remove pulverized rocks around the ship. Workers have already begun this process. An attempt will then be made to free the vessel when the canal is at high tide. The ship’s crew has been working overnight with dredging equipment with the assistance of floodlights.

Two additional tugs are also expected to arrive by Sunday to assist in the process, according to Dutch company Smit Salvage.

A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 24, 2021 shows the Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given (Evergreen), a 400-metre- (1,300-foot-)long and 59-metre wide vessel, lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt’s Suez Canal. The ship could be refloated as early as today.
Suez Canal Authority/HO/AFP/Getty Images

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