ever given suez
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UPDATE: Efforts to free the 20,388 teu containership Ever Given, which ran aground in the Suez Canal late Tuesday, resumed this morning after tugs were forced abandon the operation yesterday due to continuing high winds.

However, tugs were unable to free the stricken vessel at high tide today and dredging vessels have been deployed to help the refloating attempts.

A statement late last night from the vessel’s manager, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), said: “Dredgers are working to clear sand and mud from around the vessel to free her. Tugboats in conjunction with Ever Given’s winches are working to shift the vessel

“BSM’s immediate priorities are to safely re-float the vessel and for marine traffic in the Suez Canal to resume.

“The continued efforts of the Suez Canal Authority and those involved in ongoing re-floating operations are greatly appreciated and BSM will continue to work closely with all parties involved in this operation,” it added.

Oil prices have spiked at the prospect of a major disruption to canal transits.

Lars Jensen, of SeaIntelligence, estimates that some 55,000 teu a day from Asia to Europe currently transits the Suez Canal as vessels continue to run full on the tradelane.

According to eeSea data, the 2018-built Ever Given is deployed on the Ocean Alliance’s NEU6 loop and was “on time” en route to Rotterdam when the incident happened at around 8am local time yesterday.

Evergreen said it understood that the grounding of the chartered ULCV was the result of “gusting winds of 30 knots causing the ship to deviate from its course”, but said it had asked the shipowner to investigate the cause.

Yesterday a spokesperson for BSM told The Loadstar: “All crew are safe and accounted for. There have been no reports of injuries, pollution or cargo damage, and initial investigations rule out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding.”

However, the local GAC agency suggested that the vessel had suffered a mechanical black out causing it to lose power. Indeed, a retired master mariner The Loadstar spoke to this morning said he thought power failure was the most likely cause of the casualty.

“I can’t believe that high winds caused the ship to change course as dramatically as it did, but if the ship temporarily lost all power then the wind force on the fully-loaded deck of containers could render it pretty helpless,” he said. “It must have been frightening for the officers on the bridge.”

BSM said the vessel would undergo a full inspection and that it would “cooperate fully with the relevant authorities on reports of the incident”.

Questions will be asked as to why other ULCVs following in the convoy were apparently not also affected by the strong winds, which at 30 knots are not particularly unusual.

Nevertheless, the immediate attention will be on whether the ship suffered any hull or bottom damage as a result of the grounding that requires immediate repair and possible dry-docking.

Depending on the results of the survey, the vessel could be allowed to proceed on its voyage for a later repair or, in case of immediate attention, this could involve the discharge of all of its cargo for onward relay by other Ocean Alliance vessels, with lengthy delays for consignees in Europe awaiting their cargo.

Moreover, according to casualty marine claims consultancy WK Webster, there is a possibility that, depending on the outcome, owners may decide to declare General Average.

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