One of the world’s busiest waterways is blocked by a massive 1,300-foot long container ship.
CNN reports that 40-knot winds combined with poor visibility from a sandstorm caused the ship to run aground. After the hull (front) hit the canal’s eastern shore, the ship turned sideways, blocking the entire canal.
The incident occurred today at 7:40 a.m. local time (1:40 a.m. Eastern).
According to the Associated Press, this is the first time in the canal’s 150-year history that anything like this has happened.
The canal is in Egypt and connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. It also separates Asia from Africa.
Oil futures have risen more than 5% since the accident. MarketWatch reports that about 10% of the seaborne oil trade passes through the canal. The Associated Press noted that about 10% of global trade passes through the canal, as well.
Citing the Suez Canal Authority, CNN reports the ship is named Ever Given and can carry 20,000 containers. It’s registered in Panama and operated by the Taiwanese company Evergreen Marine Corp.
According to the AP, the head of the Suez Canal Authority said, “The Suez Canal will not spare any efforts to ensure the restoration of navigation and to serve the movement of global trade.”
Multiple tugboats are trying to free the ship but, at writing, have not yet been successful.
At this point, it’s unclear how many ships will be left waiting for the waterway to clear and how many days it could take authorities to refloat the vessel. The impact on global trade is yet to be determined.
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