(CMR) A massive cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal for a week creating havoc in global trade, has finally been freed.
The ship, one of the largest in the world, ran aground on March 22 after getting caught in poor visibility and high winds from a sandstorm.
The freeing of the “Ever Given”, which is the size of a skyscraper, is said to be one of the largest ship salvage operations in modern history.
The 220,000-ton and quarter-mile-long ship, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine, was heading from China to the Netherlands when the incident occurred.
Dredgers and tug boats worked for days to free one of the most important canals in world trade. They partially refloated the ship early Monday morning before fully freeing it from the bank hours later.
Shippers with containers carrying oil and consumer goods were forced to reroute around the southern tip of Africa, adding weeks and tens of thousands of dollars of additional costs to their voyages.
The Suez blockage was estimated to cost $400 million per hour in delays to goods shipments.
According to Bloomberg, about 12% of global container shipping volumes pass through the canal, which links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea — a vital connection between European and Asian markets.
“Without Suez, a supertanker carrying Mideast crude oil to Europe would have to travel an extra 6,000 miles around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding some $300,000 in fuel,” Bloomberg explained the significance of the canal.
The blockage is said to set back global trade significantly and could take months for the global market to recover.