Ever Given cargo ship blocks the Suez Canal


Overhead view of the Suez Canal blockage. 25 March 2021, 15:35. Container Ship ‘Ever Given’ stuck in the Suez Canal, Egypt – March 24th, 2021. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2021], processed by Pierre Markuse.

Kacy Mull, Ranger Review Reporter

From March 23 to 29, 2021, the ship Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal, a global trade route that delayed supply deliveries by six days, leading to shortages of almost everything from coffee to toilet paper to clothes to electronics. 

Ever Given is one of the largest cargo ships in the world and carried thousands of supplies on its trip through the Suez Canal, meaning this incident rattled global trade. The estimated loss of money was $400 million per hour and $54 billion in total and the containers it held values at about $3 billion. 

The Suez Canal, linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, is a passage responsible for 12% of global trade. The Ever Given was apparently swung by high winds into the banks of the canal, wedging it sideways, blocking entrance by getting stuck on the parallel banks of the canal. 

It took six days of digging, pulling, and favorable tides to get the cargo ship moving. Within hours of the ship becoming free, the hashtag #putitback started trending on Twitter. It did, in fact, become stuck again but it was able to be freed. 

The various memes and jokes are by no means the biggest thing to come out of this incident. 

This incident also pinpointed the vulnerabilities of the global oil and gas supply chain. Gas and oil prices rose on Wednesday last week when the demand for the product stayed the same but the supply was low due to the halt in global trade. With this major setback, how prepared are the oil and gas companies in handling such a crisis again? 

Lawsuits have also come out due to the billions of dollars lost to various corporations. The Suez Canal blockage caused many companies to quickly begin pointing fingers to figure out what went wrong. 

The owner of the cargo ship, Japanese firm Shoei Kisen Kaisha, has refused to discuss suspected causes of the incident, including high wind and the ship’s speed. Hoping to avoid legal backlash, Shoei Kisen Kaisha sued the ship’s operating company Evergreen. 

Also suing Evergreen is the Egyptian authorities for $1 billion because of the damage to the canal and the lost revenue. They refuse to release the ship from their authority until the suit is settled. 

There is no known cause of the ship’s incident so far but experts are examining the ship for faults or damage. They believe that the key to what happened to the Suez Canal lies in the black box of the ship. However, there is still no word on what exactly caused the event.