Suez Canal shipping backlog ends

All ships that were stranded by the grounding of ULCV Ever Given in the Suez Canal after the vessel became stuck on March 23rd had passed through the canal by Saturday April 3rd, the Suez Canal Authority said.

As of Sunday morning there still seemed to be something of a queue at both the southern and northern ends. However, the numbers were not overly significant, in the tens rather than 100s. This could have been part of a normal day’s flow.

The SCA took only five days to clear the blocked vessels. The last 61 ships of the 422 which were queuing when the vessel was refloated on March 29th passed through on Saturday, the SCA said. That would indicate that, compared with a usual throughput of just over 50 vessels a day, the SCA managed to get something like 80-plus vessels through the canal every 24 hours, for five days in succession.

Egypt’s Leth Agencies said on Wednesday that a total of 163 ships had transited the Suez Canal since its reopening and that 292 ships were currently waiting.

In total, 85 ships had been due to pass through the canal on Saturday, including 24 ships that arrived after Ever Given was dislodged, the SCA said.

An SCA investigation which began last Wednesday March 31st into what caused the vessel to run aground in the canal and block the waterway for six days, was likely to announce the results of its investigation on Monday April 5th, said SCA chairman Ossama Rabie.

Divers had inspected the hull of the vessel on Wednesday. Lead investigator Captain Sayed Sheasha told Reuters that the investigation would include examining the seaworthiness of the ship and its captain’s actions.

Sheasha said that the Ever Given’s captain was committed to complying with the probe fully.

Rabei had previously said that the ship’s captain has yet to respond to several demands by the canal authority, including surrender of the voyage data recorder and documents sought for the investigation. Rabie said that investigators had questioned the crew. “The amount of damage and losses, and how much the dredgers consumed, will be calculated. Estimates, God willing, will reach $1bn and a little bit more. This is the country’s right,” Rabie told another local channel. He did not specify who he thought would pay, or whether Egypt had already sought compensation.

Shoei Kisen, the Japan-based owner of the Ever Given, said last week that it had not received any claims or lawsuits over the blockage.