ISMAILIA, Egypt – Formal investigations into how the giant container ship Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal, shutting down shipping in the major global waterway for almost a week, begin on Wednesday, a canal official told Reuters.
The six-day blockage threw global supply chains into disarray after the 400-meter-long (430-yard) ship became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
Egypt’s Leth Agencies said on Wednesday that a total of 163 ships had transited the Suez Canal since its reopening and that a total of 292 ships were currently waiting.
Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie has suggested weather conditions, including high winds, and human error could have played a role in the grounding on March 23.
“Such grave accidents may not be caused by a single factor, part of it could be the wind, another part could be the human element, and another part could be technical,” Rabie told a news conference Monday night after the vessel was freed.
The investigation will include examining the seaworthiness of the ship and its captain’s actions to help determine the causes, Rabie advisor Captain Sayed Sheasha told Reuters.
The Ever Given’s captain was committed to fully complying with the probe, which will start on Wednesday, Sheasha said.
The incident is expected to give rise to flurry of insurance claims, with Lloyd’s of London expecting a “large loss,” possibly amounting to $100 million or more, according to its chairman.
The Japanese owner of the Ever Given said it had not received any claims or lawsuits over the blockage.
Investigators had already boarded the ship, which is in a lake that separates two sections of the canal, on Tuesday, a canal source and a shipping agent said.
The SCA has scheduled accelerated shipping convoys and has said it hopes the backlog of ships can be cleared by the end of the week.
(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; writing by Nadine Awadalla; editing by Aidan Lewis and Philippa Fletcher)
Photograph: In this photo released by Suez Canal Authority, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is pulled by a tugboat in the Suez Canal, on Monday, March 29, 2021. Photo credit: Suez Canal Authority via AP.
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