The massive container ship blocking one of the world’s most important trade routes was partially refloated early Monday, the Suez Canal’s service provider said, igniting hopes that it may soon be freed.
Leth Agencies, the canal’s service provider, announced via Twitter the partial refloating of the 200,000-ton Ever Given cargo ship that has been blocking hundreds of vessels from traversing through the Suez Canal near Egypt since early last week.
“While awaiting further confirmation and updates from [Suez Canal Authority], projections of fully refloating Ever Given looks promising,” Leth Agencies said.
“The vessels currently waiting in the Suez Canal area attentively waiting for updates of possible transit scenario,” it added.
Inchcape Shipping, a maritime service provider, said in a tweet that the vessel was refloated at 4:30 a.m. and “was being secured at the moment.”
Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announced at dawn Monday the start of “tugging maneuvers” by 10 giant tug boats operating in four different directions to free the grounded ship with some 18,000 containers on board.
The SCA earlier posted video to its Facebook page of dredging and other salvage work underway to aid freeing the vessel.
Rabie said crews were working to expand the scope of dredging and drilling of the canal banks to a depth of nearly 60 feet to facilitate in the refloating mission of the Panama-registered vessel.
A total of 367 vessels currently await transit through the canal that became blocked in both directions Tuesday when the 1,300-foot ship ran aground.