World

Suez Canal says 140 more ships to transit waterway

Ship Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal, Egypt March 29, 2021. Suez Canal Authority/Handout via REUTERS

ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) – The Suez Canal expects to see 140 more ships pass through the waterway on Tuesday after traffic restarted overnight following the release of a grounded container ship, its chairman said.

Shipping convoys through the canal resumed on Monday evening after tugs pulled the 400-metre-long (430-yard) Ever Given container carrier free from the spot where it became wedged on March 23.

The Ever Given’s stranding across a southern section of the canal forced a halt to all traffic, leading to a build-up of 422 ships at either end of the canal and along its course.

Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie said 95 ships would pass by 1900 local time (1700 GMT) on Tuesday and a further 45 by midnight, reasserting that he hoped a backlog caused by the blockage would be cleared in three to four days.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the Ever Given’s grounding had drawn attention to the importance of the waterway for global trade.

“We didn’t hope for something like this, but fate was doing its work. It showed and reaffirmed the reality and importance” of the canal, Sisi said as he greeted staff on a visit to the Suez Canal Authority in Ismailia.

(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad, Nadine Awadalla and Omar Fahmy; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Louise Heavens, William Maclean)

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