Freeing a container ship from the Suez Canal could capsize it

As the global shipping industry bleeds $ 400 million every hour, the massive container Ever Given gets stuck in the sands of the Suez Canal, an elite team of rescuers on the ground in Egypt are confronted with an entirely different problem: how do you make a top – a heavy stuck in quicksand weigh less without capsizing it?

“They will need a full study of the seabed and the bottom of the channel to see how extensive the grounding is,” said Nick Sloane, the rescue master who miraculously led the withdrawal of the Costa cruise . Concordia in 2014 off the island of Giglio. The daily beast. “The worst-case scenario is that the vessel is currently supported above its bow and stern, which means possible sags in the middle.”

These subsidence could cause the to split in half, dumping fuel and cargo – which includes COVID-19 supplies like Chinese-made respirators and personal protective equipment – into the channel, making it temporarily impassable. “The risk is that it can also become extremely heavy and capsize,” said Captain John Konrad, Founder and CEO of gCaptain shipping industry website, said. “And that would be catastrophic.”

But before anyone could even think of lightening up the massive vessel – which is 1,312 feet long and 194 feet wide, with 50 feet of boat underwater – they’d need to download the schematics of the and run them through. a series of computers. – programs generated to determine the effects of unloading on the scale. And then they would have to somehow get a sea crane to Egypt, because the country doesn’t have one big enough to reach the top of Ever Given’s 20,000 containers.

The information used to determine how to lighten the 200,000 metric ton vessel enough to push it out of the sand, which buries the vessel a little more with each passing tide, will be largely based on the vessel’s own records – assuming that ‘they are correct and have not been tricked into adopting what the anti-corruption maritime network once called the world’s most corrupt port system.

The question of how this monster ship, which is about the size of the Empire State Building, got stuck in the riprap or sandbanks of the canal, is also the subject of debate. The ordeal has already become the subject of a number of memes and websites, with many parody Twitter accounts producing memes of the massive shovel, which next to the ship looks like a child’s toy chipping the sand on the bow of the ship.

The ship sails under a Panamanian flag, which is a common way to bypass human rights issues of great concern to its all-Indian crew, who are now unable to the ship. It is owned by the Japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha, which apologized profusely for the rather expensive inconvenience. They say strong winds hit the ship in the sandbanks, but data so far shows it was also traveling at 13 knots in an 8 knot speed zone when the crash occurred, according to Konrad.

Several rescuers also said the most likely cause was a power outage that compromised steering as the gust of wind picked up. Coincidentally, this same ship was involved in an accident in Hamburg in 2019, when its owners crashed into a ferry and destroyed it. At the time, they also blamed the accident on a loss of steering power and high winds.

Rescuers say the next opportunity to move the ship will be during spring tides on Sunday and Monday. If that doesn’t work, it could take weeks to get her out of the sand, hopefully while still keeping her upright and intact.

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