The Suez Canal Blockage

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“EVER GIVEN” by kees torn is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Ezekiel Malual

The Suez Canal is a waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea through Egypt. This canal is man made and is the shortest maritime route to Asia from Europe. It is one of the most well known canals in the world. On March 23rd, a giant container ship called the Ever Given became stuck in the Suez Canal. Minimal effort was done to remove the boat. This block caused a lot of damage to the world economy. 

The Ever Given is managed by a Taiwanese transport company, and with a weight of 200,000 tons, the Ever Given is, by any measure, a gigantic container vessel. The Ever Given was reported by BBC News to be stuck due to high winds and an accompanying sandstorm, but many on social media have speculated that human error contributed. Tugboats were sent to free the boat, as an international effort was undertaken to free the ship and open up the accompanying shipping lanes. Over 500 ships were blocked, with an estimated 12% of global trade halted; this blockage has done a lot of damage. There are many alternative routes, but they could take weeks. Every type of business is affected from global shipping to domestic transport. Oil prices went up with the expected shortage. Many companies were at a standstill with their next move cloudy.

Egypt will release the boat when compensation has been allocated. Osama Rabie the chairman of Suez Canal Authority, told an Egyptian television station on Thursday that “The Vessel will remain here until investigations are complete and compensation is paid.” With the ongoing investigation it is unclear how much compensation Egypt will demand. Many estimate the cost for freeing the boat is around 100 million U.S. dollars , but the question still remains as to what caused the Ever Given to get stuck initially. Once the cause is found Egypt can be reimbursed.

With the Ever Given having been freed on Monday, these questions  are expected to be answered in the coming weeks.