Ever Given – the world’s most famous container ship after it blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March – has finally returned to port, some 129 days late.
Measuring in at more than 1,300 feet, the ship drew global headlines when it became stuck for six days from 23 March, blocking the crucial trade route that accounts for 12% of seaborne cargo trade.
Almost as long as New York’s Empire State building is tall, the Ever Given caused a logjam in global supply chains that is still being felt today, highlighting the fragility of some trade routes.
Some 400 ships became stacked up behind the stricken ship. Many were forced to take the much longer route around the southern tip of Africa to continue their way – journeys which caused weeks of disruption to £42 billion worth of world trade.
Data from Lloyds List suggests the blockage caused by the vessel was responsible for holding up around £$9.6 billion worth of cargo each day it was stuck.
Slow boat from China
Carrying 18,900 containers, the Ever Given was heading north on a voyage from Yantian in China to Rotterdam when it ran aground in the Suez six nautical miles from the southern Red Sea entrance.
A multinational team of more than 600 engineers and sailors and a flotilla of the world’s biggest tugboats were needed to dig and then pull the Ever Given free.
According to the Daily Mail, the ship finally arrived back to Rotterdam yesterday, with the port’s director of containers, Hans Nagtegaal, saying: “It was a great relief to see her. Finally we can get the job done offloading and hopefully get her back to a normal sailing routine.”
As well as causing significant trade disruption, the incident soon sparked international calls for compensation, with the Egypt government taking the lead by seizing the ship and demanding compensation from owners Shoei Kisen Kaisha for lost canal revenues, salvage costs and damage caused to the canal.
Cairo initially demanded $916 million in compensation before reducing it to around $550 million. The Suez Canal Authority announced last month it had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Japanese firm ahead of reaching a final deal.
The ship is now expected to leave Rotterdam next Tuesday, where it will then transit to Felixstowe to offload her UK cargoes, arriving on August 8.