The 440 million-pound Ever Given has been “partially refloated” after high winds and a dust storm turned it sideways and blocked the crucial trade route between Europe and Asia, the marine agency GAC said Wednesday.
Traffic and convoys are expected to start moving again as soon as the ship — which is longer than four football fields — is towed from the canal bank to another position, GAC said.
Some vessels could start passing through the Egyptian canal again by Thursday after the blockage gridlocked dozens of ships, Bloomberg News reported.
The first ship from a convoy that had been held up by the Ever Given has started to move, indicating that traffic has resumed, sources told Reuters.
The process of clearing the canal has reportedly gone faster than initially expected after the giant ship ran aground Tuesday.
People familiar with the situation had feared it would take days to free up the passage that serves as an artery for about 12 percent of the world’s trade, according to Bloomberg.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the ship’s technical manager, said an investigation into the incident was underway. The Ever Given’s crew is safe and no injuries have been reported, the firm said.
Photos from the site showed the Ever Given turned sideways and blocking the full width of the canal and creating a major headache for commercial ships. It takes a week longer for vessels to navigate around the African cape, which is the main alternate route between Asia and Europe.
Oil prices jumped Wednesday amid the jam, which may have affected 10 tankers carrying 13 million barrels of crude oil, according to Vertexa, an oil analytics firm.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading up about 2.7 percent at $59.31 a barrel as of 8:58 a.m., while Brent crude futures also climbed roughly 2.7 percent to $62.42.
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