Freight News, Sea

Updated: Suez blocked by stricken Evergreen vessel

[ March 24, 2021   //   ]

A 20,000teu Evergreen vessel, the Ever Given, on a voyage from China to the north-west Continent, has gone aground in the Suez Canal, blocking it completely. The heavily laden 400m vessel reportedly lost power and steering and drifted astern, before going aground and embedding itself in the canal banks. Tugs were reported to be attempting to pull the vessel back into the water while efforts are also being made to dig her out of the canal banks.

The incident, which occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning already appears to have caused a logjam of vessels. The Vessel Finder website shows at least two dozen cargo vessels, plus numerous tankers, trapped north and south of the obstruction.

Global shipping is already struggling with port congestion and a shortage of capacity that has pushed rates to unprecedented levels. If the canal remains blocked for any length of time, ship operators would need to divert vessels to the west of Africa, adding at least a week to voyage times.

In a statement, Evergreen Marine said that the chartered vessel ran aground at around 8am local time on 23 March six nautical miles from the southern entry of the Canal as the container ship proceeded northbound through the waterway from the Red Sea.  “Gusting winds of 30 knots caused the container ship to deviate from its course, suspectedly leading to the grounding.,” it added.

Evergreen has urged the shipowner to investigate the cause of this accident, and will work closely with Suez Canal Authority and related agencies to refloat the stranded ship as soon as possible.

Ever Given is a 20,000 TEU-class container ship, currently leased by Evergreen Marine under a time charter agreement with the crew hired by the shipowner. It is currently deployed on a Far East-Europe service route.