The Suez Canal, one of the most vital seafaring trade routes in the world, has been blocked since March 23. The culprit, the MV Ever Given, became stuck between its banks during inclement weather in the region and has confounded local authorities.
They are now trying every method available to remove the 400-metre-long supertanker and free up more than $9 billion in daily trade.
In a bid to allow a traffic jam of more than 200 ships to pass through the trade artery, shipping authorities have proposed using the tides to their advantage.
The president of Shoei Kisen, the ship’s owners, said yesterday there was no sign of internal damage, and all the Ever Given needed to do was float again.
The ship is currently trapped in dirt and sediment which is holding the bow and stern in place.
10am update: Ships reroute around Africa’s southernmost tip
Some ships have attempted to flee the growing queue at the canal’s lower entrance by traversing Africa.
Danish shipping company Maersk has announced 22 of its vessels would reroute around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
A spokesperson for the company said: “We are closely monitoring the development of the floating operations of the affected vessel to better assess the measures to be taken to mitigate the delay of the affected cargo.
“The longer it takes to re-float the vessel, the greater the risk that we’ll see serious bottlenecks in ports in northern Europe, and the bigger the hurdle to clean up.”
9am update: International leaders offer help
International leaders have also offered their help as the crisis grows, treating global trade.
Among them was US President Joe Biden, who offered his country’s vast resources.
Speaking from Delaware this weekend, he said: “We have equipment and capacity that most countries don’t have. And we are seeing what help we can be.”