Every day, some 50 ships pass through the Suez Canal, the waterway slashed between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. These are big ships: Some 10 percent of the world’s maritime trade traverses the Suez. But not Wednesday.
That’s because a ship called the Ever Given, en route to Rotterdam, Netherlands, from China, is wedged between the canal’s sandy banks. The vessel, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Group, is one of the biggest in the world: as long as four football fields, as wide as the wingspan of a Boeing 747, and, thanks to the 200,000 tons of containers stacked on board, as tall as a 12-story building.
It might be there a while. It’s not easy to unstick a gigantic shipping vessel, experts say. The Suez Canal Authority, the Egypt-owned body that owns and operates the canal, has not yet said when it expects traffic to resume.