The attempts of tugging the stranded Ever Given vessel in Suez Canal- press photo
CAIRO - 28 March 2021: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi asked the Suez Canal Authority (SCA)to prepare for all scenarios, including the plan C of offloading the containers from the stranded vessel, Ever Given.
An official at the SCA media office told Egypt Today that the President has asked the authority to prepare for all possible scenarios and this does not mean that the authority started plan C.
In case that the authority failed to refloat the ship Sunday when the highest tides occur it could resort to the third scenario of offloading the containers to help refloat it, another official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, told Egypt Today on Sunday.
In third scenario, the authority could be in need of assistance to offload the containers via using giant cranes and this process could take several weeks.
The official also noted that the crane that could be used in offloading the containers is American and may it comes from the US or from a port where it harbors now.
In a press conference held on Saturday at Suez governorate, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chief Lieutenant General Osama Rabie thanked some countries, especially the United States of America, the UAE, Greece, Japan and China, for their offers of assistance, saying “It is likely that these offers will be subject to coordination in case we resorted to the third scenario.”
He also assured that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is closely following up on the situation of the aground vessel on a daily basis.
He added the authority has put three action plans in dealing with the aground ship: firstly, it used the tugboats, then dredging using the authority’s dredgers and returning again to tugging maneuvers, and finally it would resort to Plan C, which means offloading the containers from the ship.
The EVER GIVEN ship, 400 meters long and 59 meters wide, has 18,300 containers onboard with a capacity of 224,000 tons ran aground due to bad weather and sandstorm and wedged diagonally across the canal at 151km of the canal, where vessels pass through from both directions. Being stranded at this point, the ship resulted in the suspension of the international maritime trade through the canal since March 25, 2021.
The number of the ships awaiting in the Suez Canal blocked by the vessel that ran aground has reached 321 vessels, and that the authority is providing them all logistic services they need, Lieutenant General Rabie said.
In his speech, Rabei clarified that the incident did not occur in the new shipping lane of the Suez Canal, but it took place in the southern entrance of the canal. “No ships stranded in the Suez Canal have changed their courses to other routes,” Rabie said, adding that he rules out any ships would change their courses in the future, explaining that the Suez Canal “is the shortest passage for the maritime navigational traffic in the world.”
The incident did not result in any injuries, deaths or pollution accidents, he said, adding that the sand storm and the bad weather could not be the main cause of the incident, adding that a human or technical error could be the reason but there will be an investigation to know the exact reasons after refloating the ship.
“In such incidents, we ask the captain to keep and have all documents, videos and audios for the investigations,” he explained, adding that compensation will be considered later. “We cannot say that we have not been affected when it comes to the revenues because the other vessels already awaiting in the canal,” Rabie said, adding that offloading the containers is the third scenario that could be conducted to refloat the ship.
“On Friday, there was an indication of success to refloat the ship but t has been stopped due to the low level of tidewater, but we cannot guarantee when exactly the refloating process would complete,” Rabie said.
EVER GIVEN vessel, according to Rabie, has passed through the canal before.
Arrival of New Tugboats
Two new gigantic tugboats have arrived at the Suez Canal to participate in the process of tugging the stranded EVER GIVEN vessel, the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority spokesman George Safwat said on Sunday in a statement.
The two new gigantic tugboats "Abdel Hamid Youssef" and "Mustafa Mahmoud" will participate in the tugging maneuvers after the completion of their construction in the Port Said Maritime Shipyard with a tugging force of 70 tons each.
The two tugboats have the same technical specifications, each one is 35.87 meters long, 12.5 meters wide, with a maximum depth for each ship is 5.75 meters and a speed of 13 knots, the statement said, adding that the propellers of the ships are manufactured by German company Voith and other machines were made by the Japanese company DAIHATSU.
The arrival came after a total of 27,000 cubic meters of sand and mud have been dredged so far by Mashhour dredge around the Ever Given ship’s bow, noting that the dredge work reached 18 meters in depth.
“The efforts to float EVER GIVEN are continuing around the clock by carrying out dredging works and tugging maneuvers at times compatible with tidal conditions,” SCA Chairperson said in the statement.