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Traffic in Suez Canal back to normal

The giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week was fully floated on Monday and traffic in the waterway would resume, the canal authority said in a statement.

Agencies and A News WORLD
Published March 29,2021
Ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal, Egypt March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

After a days-long stuck ship crisis, traffic in the Suez Canal has gone back to normal, said the head of the canal authority Monday.

Osama Rabi's statement came after reports circulated that strong winds had driven the stranded ship back to its previous position in the canal.

Early Monday Egyptian shipping authorities announced that the MV Ever Given, the massive container ship that has been blocking the canal for six days, had been successfully refloated.

Speaking to state-run TV, Mohab Mamish, the Egyptian president's adviser for the canal, said "the cargo ship was freed and has already sailed."

Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, told local media that the canal will likely be reopened for navigation this afternoon after the container ship is taken to the country's lakes region for examination.

Egypt's president released a statement hailing efforts to refloat the stuck cargo ship.

"Today, Egyptians have succeeded in ending the crisis of the stranded ship in the Suez Canal despite the operation's massive technical complexity," Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Twitter.

"Returning things to their natural course by Egyptian hands ... the whole world can rest assured that their needs will be met and goods will flow through this central navigational artery," he said.

The crisis began last Tuesday when the giant ship ran aground, blocking international trade in one of the world's main waterways, leaving 320 ships including oil tankers stuck at the canal entrance, and sparking a crisis in the world supply chain, especially in Europe.

Earlier on Monday, Egyptian authorities announced the start of train-pulling maneuvers to get the ship through the canal, involving 10 giant tugboats operating from four different sides.

The 400-meter-long (1,312-foot) Ever Given, owned by Japanese firm Shoei Kisen KK, was sailing from China to the Netherlands with almost 220,000 tons of goods when it ran aground in the canal.