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Massive container ship blocks Suez Canal

Cairo, Egypt | March 24, 2021, Wednesday @ 07:36 in World » GENERAL | By: AFP | Views: 2034
Massive container ship blocks Suez Canal


This picture taken on November 17, 2019 shows the Liberia-flagged container ship RDO Concord sailing through Egypt's Suez Canal in the canal's central hub city of Ismailia on the 150th anniversary of the canal's inauguration. One hundred and fifty years after the Suez Canal opened, the international waterway is hugely significant to the economy of modern-day Egypt, which nationalised it in 1956. The canal, dug in the 19th century using "rudimentary tools" and which links the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, was opened to navigation in 1869 and was expanded in 2015 to accommodate larger ships. (Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

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(AFP) - A giant container ship has blocked the Suez Canal in Egypt, tracking websites showed Wednesday, bringing marine traffic to a shuddering halt along one of the world's busiest trade routes.

A photo posted Tuesday showed the Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given, a 400-metre- (1,300-foot-)long and 59-metre wide vessel, lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway as excavation trucks struggled to dig it out.

Shipping website Vessel Finder said the ship was bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and it is unclear why the supertanker has stopped moving.

Over 150 years old, the Suez Canal is one of the world's most important trade routes, providing passage for 10 percent of all international maritime trade.

Nearly 19,000 ships passed through it last year with a total tonnage of 1.17 billion, according to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

It has been a boon for Egypt's struggling economy in recent years, with the country earning $5.61 billion in revenues from the canal last year.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi unveiled plans in 2015 for an expansion designed to reduce waiting times and double the number of ships using the canal daily by 2023.

In February, Sisi ordered his cabinet to adopt a "flexible marketing policy" for the canal in order to cope with the economic downturn caused by Covid-19.

Egyptian authorities are yet to comment on the tanker incident.

© Agence France-Presse

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Tags: Egypt, Suez

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