CAIRO: All ships stranded by the grounding of the giant container ship the Ever Given in the Suez Canal in March passed through the canal by Saturday, ending the backlog that built up during the blockage, the canal authority said.
The last 61 ships, out of 422 ships that were queuing when the vessel was dislodged on Monday, passed through the vital trade artery on Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said.
“All the ships waiting in the waterway since the grounding of the (MV) Ever Given have completed passage,” SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said in a statement by the authority.
Rabie said in televised statements that 42 and 41 vessels had crossed the canal over the past two days respectively.
Rabie indicated that two new dredgers are scheduled to arrive from the Netherlands, adding that they will be the biggest in the Middle East.
One will arrive this week; the other in August. They will be able to dredge to a depth of 35 meters.
Rabei referred to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s mandates to import locomotives with a tensile strength of 400 tons, compared to the current 160 tons.
He added that the SCA began unloading the black box of the Ever Given ship to find out the circumstances of the accident.
The ship was stuck in the canal for almost a week, causing a major navigation and trade disruption.
Rabie said that authorities are studying the expansion of the shipping channel to prevent the recurrence of a similar incident.
He explained that the depth of the canal is currently 24 meters, equivalent to 66 feet.
El-Sisi said that Egypt is working to connect with a network of ports and railways, adding that the Ever Given ship will be subject to intense investigations.
An SCA investigation which began on Wednesday is going well, Rabie added.