SUEZ, Egypt (AP) – Two additional tugboats are speeding to Egypt’s Suez Canal to aid efforts to free a skyscraper-sized container ship wedged for days across the crucial waterway. That’s even as major shippers increasingly divert their boats out of fear the vessel may take even longer to free.
The massive Ever Given, a Panama-flagged and Japanese-owned ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, got stuck Tuesday in a single-lane stretch of the canal. In the time since, authorities have been unable to remove the vessel. Traffic through the canal – valued at over $9 billion a day – has been halted, further disrupting a global shipping network already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a sign of the turmoil the blockage has caused, the ship’s Japanese owner even offered a written apology.
“We are determined to keep on working hard to resolve this situation as soon as possible,” Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. said. “We would like to apologize to all parties affected by this incident, including the ships travelling and planning to travel through Suez Canal.”