Dislodging Suez Canal ship ‘could take weeks’

Dislodging the ship that is stuck in the Suez Canal could take days or even weeks, experts said, as an ever-greater backlog of ships is gathering in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean waiting for passage.

As of Friday morning, the giant Ever Given vessel remained grounded in the same position, with tugboats and dredgers still working to free it, according to Canal service provider Leth Agencies.A team from Boskalis, a Dutch firm specialised in salvaging, started working with the canal authority on Thursday. The rescue efforts have focused on dredging to remove sand and mud from around the port side of the vessel’s bow.

‘Trying my best. No promises’

Meanwhile, there’s no let up in the torrent of memes and gifs lampooning the Suez Canal situation.

The Twitter account @SuezDiggerGuyNetizens also conjured up Lego images of the digger and the bow of the container ship, which is carrying consumer goods from Chinese factories to European households.

Owner of ship aims to free Ever Given ‘tomorrow night’

Shoei Kisen, the Japanese owner of the container ship blocking the Suez Canal, said it aims to free the ship “tomorrow night Japan time”, the Nikkei reported on Friday, giving a much more positive outlook than most experts.

A spokeswoman for the owner in Japan said that the refloating work was ongoing but that the company did not yet know when the effort would succeed.

Downtime could ‘certainly last at least two weeks’

Speaking to Bloomberg, Randy Giveans, senior vice president of Equity Research for Energy Maritime at Jefferies LLC, said that if cargo needs to be unloaded or extensive repairs made to the canal itself, “then the downtime could certainly last at least two weeks”.

On Wednesday, Peter Berdowski, chief executive officer of Boskalis Westminster, the parent company of the salvage team, said “I can’t exclude that it can last weeks if the ship is really stuck”.

, “Guy With the Digger at Suez Canal,” had nearly 15,000 followers by Friday and a profile line that read: “Trying my best. No promises.”

The process would take that long if “you need to get rid of cargo and you need to do dredging as well,” he said in an interview on the Nieuwsuur TV programme in the Netherlands.

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