Suez Crisis: Massive rock blocks efforts to dislodge stuck container ship

Suez Canal salvage teams were alternating between dredging and tugging on Sunday to dislodge a massive container ship blocking the busy waterway, as efforts had been complicated by rock under the ship’s bow.

Dredgers working to dislodge the stranded vessel have so far shifted 27,000 cubic metres of sand, to a depth of 18 metres, and efforts would continue around the clock according to wind conditions and tides, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement.

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Two attempts to free the Ever Given were unsuccessful on Saturday despite hopes the high water level could give the efforts a boost.

More than 369 ships are waiting to travel through the waterway, either to the Mediterranean or the Red Sea. Dozens of others still listed their destination as the canal, although shippers increasingly appear to be avoiding the passage.

IN PICTURES: Ever Given chokes Suez Canal

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‘Ship Moves Slightly’

“There are positive indicators from yesterday and the day before yesterday,” Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie told local TV

“The rudder was not moving and it is now moving, the propeller is working now, there was no water underneath the bow, and now there is water under it, and yesterday there was a 4-metre deviation in the bow and the stern.”

However, reports claim a mass of rock had been found at the bow of the ship, complicating salvage efforts.

“We’re dividing the day into two halves, 12 hours for dredgers and 12 hours for tugs, because not all times are suitable for tugs due to the tide,” said Rabie, adding that 14 tug boats were being deployed.

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