Rescuers have warned that the Suez Canal could be closed for weeks by a giant container ship that ran aground, raising fears of major disruption to global trade.
When the rigs arrived yesterday to help dig and re-float Start Given Weighing 220,000 tons after being caught in the canal during a sandstorm on Tuesday, Pucalis, a rescue company involved in the rescue, compared the operation to trying to free a whale on the beach.
“The safer the ship, the longer the operation will take,” Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski told the Dutch TV show. News Hour. “It might take days or weeks. Bring in all the equipment we need, and that’s not around the corner.”
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, Technical Director of Start GivenPauskalis’ Smit Salvage said he had been assigned to assist in the rescue effort, but the attempt in the morning to re-float the ship was unsuccessful. In addition to the two dredges already on site, a specialist suction dredger has now also arrived, the company says.
The since when At 400 meters long, it is operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine and is one of the largest container ships in the world and weighs thousands of tons of cargo, and its location indicates that the bow and stern are confined to the shallow edge beaches of a canal at the southern end.
While rescue experts hope the high tide will help free the ship if the rigs can remove enough sand and dirt, there are growing concerns that resurfacing it could be more complicated.
Lifeguards may have to remove fuel from the ship’s tanks to help reduce the weight of the ship and consider unloading some of its containers – a daunting and dangerous task given the relatively remote location, the ship’s sheer height, and the lack of infrastructure on the ground.
Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, said nine of its ships and two other companies had been suspended due to the blockade. Ranjith Raja, an analyst at Refinitiv Financial Data Services, said more than 206 ships were waiting on either side of the canal to cross.
John Glenn, an economist at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, warned that a prolonged channel shutdown risks serious disruption to the supply chain.
“If goods have to be diverted across Africa due to the blockade, this will add up to 10 days to delivery times for British companies,” Glenn said. “If this happens, it will inevitably lead to a shortage of goods and an inflationary increase in prices for consumers.”
Oil prices have increased due to the blockade, as there are long lines of oil tankers waiting to pass. Brent crude, the international benchmark, has risen nearly 5 percent to around $ 63 a barrel since the channel closed.
Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie noted that although the biggest impact was in container transport – which accounted for about 50 percent of the ships that crossed the canal in February – at least 16 oil tankers loaded with crude and refined fuel have been shut down.
The Suez Canal Authority clarified that its expectations for the re-floatation of the ship had been extended, saying that 13 ships were allowed to cross the northern end of the canal on Wednesday, but that it will now need to drop the anchor, with all additional navigation suspended.
Most large container ships have yet to decide whether to divert ships around the Cape of Good Hope, but they are working frantically to reorganize schedules in case the ship remains stuck.
Evergreen said in a statement that so far, there has been no damage or damage to the crew, ship or cargo. He also denied reports of previous power outages. Because of the rental of the Panama-flagged ship, the responsibility for salvaging it and any third-party responsibility rests with the Japanese owner, Shwe Kisen Kaisha, but he will “continue to help restore the transit as soon as possible,” he added.
Fears of a prolonged shutdown are driving prices up in the freight markets.
“The news that the Suez Canal could be closed for a longer period has moved the dry commodity futures markets, which have already been revised,” said Dimitris Polimis, a portfolio manager at Paralus, a shipping hedge fund focused on.