17 Tugboats, Dredgers, and High Tides
360 Ships Await Passage
360 ships await passage through the canal. The total would be higher but many ships gave up and went around Africa instead.
That adds 10 days to the journey and $26,000 a day in fuel costs.
The Ever Given was lodged sideways in the canal for 6 days, Tuesday through Sunday but the Ever Given is Finally Free.
Engineers raced throughout Monday to finish the job of freeing the Ever Given after partially refloating the ship at dawn, taking advantage of an unusually high tide to make the job easier. Tugboats helped pull the vessel out from the side of the canal where it had been stuck, before straightening its heading. It slowly began to move, with the objective of later reaching an anchor point at a lake further up the canal system.
Canal managers were giving priority to vessels carrying livestock because they were running out of animal feed, according to a person involved in the operation said. The canal was expected to be opened to other ships later in the day.
Unusually High Tide
The "unusually high tide" happens once a month when the sun and moon are aligned, both polling the tides in the same direction.
On Saturday I explained Why a Full Moon Might Help the Free the 300 Ship Blockage in the Suez Canal
Destination Great Bitter Lake
Assisted by tugboats, the Ever Given moves to the Great Bitter Lake, the widest part of the canal where it will anchor for inspections.
Great Bitter Lake is approximately the midway point of the 120-mile-long waterway.
How Long to Clear Traffic?
The daily maximum 106 ships through the canal so that would imply more than three days unless the canal authorities allow more than maximum capacity.
Given the high tides, perhaps they can do a bit better than maximum.
Not the First Ever Given Accident
Wikipedia notes: On 9 February 2019, the ship struck and heavily damaged a 25-meter-long HADAG ferry boat at Blankenese, near the harbour of Hamburg. Two minutes after the collision, a traffic ban on the Elbe river was issued due to high winds.
Insurance Battle and Blame Game
An insurance battle blame game comes next.
I expect the owners of Ever Given will take the hit but the captain blames high winds.
Blaming the wind sounds nice but the wind was expected, other ships purposely delayed because of the wind.
Some ships that did make it through with the wind had tugboat assists. The Ever Given had no helper tugs and was going at at excessive speed.
Excess speed is sometimes used to avoid grounding, but if the ship does hit the bank, the result is deeper entrenchment as happened in this case.
In my estimation, the canal authorities should have held up the Ever Given or mandated helper tugs. But the captain made the ultimate decision, and a poor one to proceed.
Container Shipping Costs Soar
Meanwhile, please note Container Shipping Costs Soar From $1500 to $9000 Due to Suez Canal Blockage.
It may take weeks, not days for shipping costs to settle.