Published: 26th March 2021
What The FAQ: How will the Ever Given ship stuck in the Suez Canal affect India?
The Empire State Building-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt's Suez Canal further jeopardised global shipping on Thursday as at least 150 other vessels are waiting to cross the Suez Canal
The Ever Given, a Panama-flagged ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, ran into a beach on Tuesday in the narrow, man-made canal dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula — Suez Canal. In the time since, efforts to free the ship using dredgers, digging and the aid of high tides have yet to push the container vessel aside. The Empire State Building-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt's Suez Canal further jeopardised global shipping on Thursday as at least 150 other vessels needing to pass through the crucial waterway idled waiting for the obstruction to clear, authorities said. The ship has an Indian connect as well — the entire crew of the cargo ship is Indian, confirmed Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the ship's Japanese owner. While experts say that it might take a week to clear the backlog of ships waiting to pass, how hard will it hit world trade and subsequently India?
How big is the Ever Given?
The Ever Given, built-in 2018 with a length of nearly 400 meters (a quarter-mile) and a width of 59 meters (193 feet), is among the largest cargo ships in the world. It can carry some 20,000 containers at a time. It previously had been at ports in China before heading toward Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The 59-metre wide vessel is lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt's Suez Canal [Pic: AFP]
How will the ship be freed?
So far, dredgers have tried to clear silt around the massive ship. Tug boats nudged the vessel alongside it, trying to gain momentum. From the shore, at least one backhoe dug into the canal's sandy banks, suggesting the bow of the ship had ploughed into it. Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the company that manages the Ever Given, said the ship's 25-member crew are safe and accounted for. The ship had two pilots from Egypt's canal authority aboard the vessel to guide it when the grounding happened around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, the company said.
How will it affect world trade?
Canal service provider Leth Agencies said at least 150 ships were waiting for the Ever Given to be cleared, including vessels near Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea, Port Suez on the Red Sea and those already stuck in the canal system on Egypt's Great Bitter Lake. Cargo ships already behind the Ever Given in canal will be reversed south back to Port Suez to free the channel, Leth Agencies said. As of 2019, around 50 ships used the canal every day. According to some estimates, 12 per cent of world trade (and 30 per cent of all container ships) by volume passes through the canal.
How will it hamper world trade?
It already has. The price of international benchmark Brent crude stood at over $63 a barrel on Thursday. But the extent of the ramifications depends on how long the canal is closed. Experts said that with 150 ships in the queue it might even take more than a week for the backlog to clear. A long closure could be extremely expensive for the owners of these ships. They might even decide to cut losses and reroute their vessels around Africa. The owner of the Ever Given, Shoei Kisen Kaisha from Japan, is already facing millions of dollars in insurance claims and the cost of emergency salvage services.
(with inputs from PTI)