Several container ships that are currently stuck at the Suez Canal due to a large vessel being stranded may be forced to take a detour around Africa.
If the “Ever Given” vessel was not dislodged from being stranded, shipping companies would have to look into a detour that would lead them around the southern tip of Africa, Business Insider reported on Thursday. The Ever Given cargo ship, considered to be one of the world’s largest, was turned sideways from strong wind gusts, causing it to become lodged in between the banks.
The delay has resulted in major port congestion and shortages of containers and vessels.
Continued Suez Canal blockage creates worst shipping jam in years, as some ships may have to de-route around Africa: Follow our live updates https://t.co/obeDqcOJ71 pic.twitter.com/7epI1oWjsB
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) March 25, 2021
Commodity Data Analysis company Kpler told Business Insider if delays continued “shippers will have to broach the unpalatable decision of whether to make a U-turn and head for the Cape of Good Hope” or be forced to wait in the Red Sea.
The route, approximately 15,000 miles, would cause extensive delays of at least one week, Reuters reported.
The Suez Canal Authority told the outlet Thursday that eight tug boats were working on the vessel and that all traffic has been temporarily suspended. Several dredgers were attempting to clear mud and sand from the base of the ship while the tugboats worked to free the vessel. (RELATED: Ill-Fated Mega Cargo Ship Drew A Penis In The Sea Before Getting Itself Wedged In Suez Canal)
NEW: A skyscraper-sized container ship wedged in the Suez Canal could take weeks to unblock, wreaking further havoc on global oil markets and trade, the Financial Times reports. https://t.co/cFKQFKoRFd
— Axios (@axios) March 25, 2021
Peter Berdowski, the CEO of the Dutch construction company Boskalis, told Reuters he “can’t exclude” the operation to free the vessel, which could take “weeks.”
Several shipping experts also told Reuters the blockage could affect “every port in Western Europe” due to the amount of crude oil and other goods shipped through the canal. It is still unclear the extent to which delays will lead to economic damage.