Stranded Suez container ship freed

A huge container ship that has been wedged in the Suez Canal since Tuesday has reportedly been refloated.

Video posted on social media on Monday appeared to show the stern of the Ever Given swung towards the canal bank, opening space in the channel. Maritime services company Inchcape also reported the vessel was freed.

Refloating the ship was a lengthy effort involving tugboats and dredgers.

The canal, which runs through Egypt, is one of the busiest trade routes.

The grounding of the Ever Given – part of the Evergreen fleet – meant other ships had to reroute around Africa.

After several days of failing to free the vessel, on Sunday canal officials began preparing to remove some of roughly 20,000 containers on board the ship in order to lighten the load.

Experts earlier told the BBC that such an operation would involve bringing in specialist equipment, including a crane that would need to stretch more than 60m (200ft) high, and that it would have taken weeks.

The 400m-long (1,300ft), 200,000-tonne vessel ran aground on Tuesday morning amid high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. Specialist salvage companies were brought in to help refloat the ship.

About 12% of global trade passes through the 193km (120-mile) canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.

An alternative route, around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, can take two weeks longer. (BBC)

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