A huge container ship, about the length of four football pitches has become wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal, blocking traffic in one of the world’s busiest trade routes.
Dozens of vessels are stuck, waiting for rescue boats to free the 400m-long ship, which was knocked off course by strong winds.
Egypt has reopened the canal’s older channel to divert some traffic until the grounded ship can move again.
The mishap has created long tailbacks.
About 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
The Ever Given, registered in Panama, was bound for the port city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands from China and was passing northwards through the canal on its way to the Mediterranean.
The 200,000 tonne ship, built in 2018 and operated by Taiwanese transport company Evergreen Marine, ran aground and became lodged sideways across the waterway at about 07:40 local time on Tuesday.
At 400m long and 59m wide, the ship has blocked the path of other vessels which are now trapped in lines in both directions.
The company that manages the container ship, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), has denied earlier reports that the ship had already been partially refloated.
In a statement, it said its “immediate priorities are to safely re-float the vessel and for marine traffic in the Suez Canal to safely resume”.
Experts have warned the process could take several days.
Evergreen Marine said the ship was “suspected of being hit by a sudden strong wind, causing the hull to deviate… and accidentally hit the bottom and run-aground”.