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Suez ship is refloated in first step to clearing canal

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Work to free the giant container vessel blocking the Suez Canal is proving successful in a key step toward getting one of the world’s most important trade arteries moving again.

The Ever Given was re-floated and maneuvers to free the ship were scheduled to resume again later on Monday, as the water level rises to its maximum height, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement.

Efforts are underway to prepare the ship to cross the canal and out of the channel, said Mohab Mamish, the Egyptian president’s adviser for the Suez Canal.

Automakers and suppliers expect their supply chains to be impacted after the canal’s closure halted the flow of goods through the shortest sea link between Europe and Asia. Audi said the blockage could affect deliveries of finished cars and supplies of materials that area already en route to their destinations.

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At least 369 vessels were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas vessels, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie said.

The authority has said it can accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given is freed.

Reuters contributed to this report

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