The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Monday (March 29) that a huge cargo ship that had been blocking the canal has been freed and is now sailing along the waterway.
Video from the scene shows the 400-meter-long Ever Given traveling along the canal, with tugboats accompanying the Ever Given’s side and stern. The sound of the ship’s whistle is heard as a symbol of the end of the crisis.
The huge ship ran aground in the southern section of the Suez Canal during strong winds on March 23 and plunged into the canal, blocking the channel and causing a major blockage of international shipping. The Suez Canal is the shortest route between Europe and Asia.
Earlier Monday, while it was still uncertain whether the canal would be officially reopened, Egyptian President Sisi had declared the crisis over on his official Twitter account.
His tweet said, “By returning to normal with the efforts of Egyptians, it will ensure that the world’s goods and demand corridor will pass through this axial navigational artery.”
The key shipping lane, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, was blocked for nearly a week before it was reopened.
As of Sunday evening, more than 360 ships were waiting to enter the Suez Canal.
Egypt is eager to restore traffic to the Suez Canal. The canal generates $5 billion to $6 billion in revenue for Egypt each year. According to a study by German insurer Allianz, the Suez Canal is blocked every day causing $6 billion to $10 billion in losses to global trade.
Some maritime companies have diverted ships around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern end of the continent to cope with the blockage.
Two maritime and shipping sources said that after further dredging and digging over the weekend, Suez Canal Authority rescuers and a team from the Dutch company Smit Salvage used a tugboat to free the “Chang Chi” early Monday morning.