Suez Canal reopens after stranded megaship is freed

A huge container ship that has was wedged in the Suez Canal has finally been freed from the shoreline.

The 220,000-ton, 400-metre-long Ever Given – a 'megaship' operated by firm Evergreen – became stuck near the southern end of the canal on Tuesday. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said it had lost the ability to steer amid high winds and a dust storm.

The giant container ship was fully floated on Monday and traffic in the waterway would resume, the canal authority said in a statement.

The blockage had been the source of much worry and frustration for the global shipping industry.

Over the weekend, it was feared that some of the ship's cargo, about 18,000 containers would have to be removed in order to lighten the load.But high tides helped the tugs and dredgers in their work.

Egypt's President declared an end to the crisis of the giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal after its owners revealed it had been freed from the bank.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made the announcement on his official social media pages.

“I thank every loyal Egyptian who contributed technically and physically to ending this crisis. Today, the Egyptians have proven that they are always responsible,” he said.

Earlier the owners of the the ship said it had been freed from the bank but was still not floating.

Footage posted on social media appeared to show the 400 metre-long megaship facing the right direction in the water as tugboats battled to straighten it after the vessel smashed into the bank last week.

How much has the blockage cost?

About 12% of global trade, around one million barrels of oil and roughly 8% of liquefied natural gas pass through the canal each day.

SCA chairman Osama Rabie said on Saturday that the Canal's revenues were taking a $14m-$15m (£10.2m-£10.9m) hit for each day of the blockage.

Prior to the pandemic, trade passing through the Suez Canal contributed to 2% of Egypt's GDP, according to Moody's.

The Suez Canal blockage didn't just affect the global shipping industry or the Egyptian economy - countless businesses, from domestic transport providers to retailers, supermarkets and manufacturers were also impacted.

The Ever Given is one of a new category of ships called ultra-large container ships (ULCS), some of which are even too big for the Panama canal, which links the Atlantic and Pacific. It is carrying hundreds of containers bound for Rotterdam from China.

It will now undergo a full inspection at the Great Bitter Lake, the vessel's technical managers, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, said.

It said there had been no reports of pollution or cargo damage, and initial investigations had ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding last week.

The ship's Indian crew of 25 remaining aboard the vessel are safe and in good health, BSM said, adding: "Their hard work and tireless professionalism are greatly appreciated."

The ship's containers are carrying a huge variety of items and the insured value of the cargo is believed to amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.