Massive container ship that blocked Suez Canal re-floats after 5 days

Cairo: A massive container ship that had blocked the Suez Canal since March 23 has been freed and re-floated, maritime service provider Inchcape Shipping said on Monday.

The Panama-flagged ship, Ever Given, had veered off its course in a single-lane stretch of the canal during a sandstorm, reports dpa news agency.

Dredgers and tug boats had been working around the clock to free the massive 400-metre-long-vessel.

The high tide on Sunday night helped to free the ship, the service provider indicated.

The blockage of the canal led to disrupted supply chains and sent ripples through global markets.

When the Suez Canal will be reopened to traffic was initially not clear.

According to the canal authority, around 370 ships were waiting for passage on both sides of the canal, including 25 oil tankers.

Financial news wire Bloomberg reported there could even be 450 waiting ships.

The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, provides the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe.

The blockage was costing the canal operator $13 million to $14 million in losses per day, according to the head of the state Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi had ordered preparations for the possibility of reducing a load of containers on the vessel to help free it.