Suez Canal head warns stricken cargo ship may need unloading

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“The bow is really stuck in the sandy clay, but the stern has not been pushed totally into the clay, which is positive,” Berdowski told Dutch TV programme Nieuwsuur on Friday, according to Reuters.

He added that more heavy tugboats were due to arrive this weekend.

“We hope that a combination of the tugboats, dredging of sand at the bow and a high tide will enable us to get the ship loose,” Berdowski said.

Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world’s second-largest shipping group, said on Saturday the world was facing “one of the biggest disruptions to global trade in recent years” and warned that customers should expect a “deterioration in supply chain reliability issues over the coming months” even if the canal could be unblocked quickly.

“Sailing around the Cape of Good Hope is an option on some routes, while in other cases it’s more about working closely with our customers to see what other solutions we can devise,” said Caroline Becquart, MSC’s senior vice-president.

“Unfortunately, even when the canal reopens for the huge backlog of ships waiting at anchorage this will lead to a surge in arrivals at certain ports and we may experience fresh congestion problems.”

Rabie said that the number of ships waiting to transit the canal had swelled to around 320.

Lloyd’s List estimates that more than $10bn a day of goods have been delayed at the north and south entrances to the canal since the Ever Given became stuck on Tuesday.

Rabie said Egypt was losing up to $14m a day in canal fees.

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