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In March 2021, the Suez Canal was blocked for six days by the Ever Given, a container ship that had run aground in the canal. The 400-metre-long (1,300 ft), 224,000-ton, 20,000 TEU vessel was buffeted by strong winds on the morning of 23 March, and ended up wedged across the waterway with its bow and stern stuck in the canal banks, blocking all traffic until it could be freed. Egyptian authorities said that "technical or human errors" may have also been involved. The obstruction occurred south of the two-channel section of the canal, so there was no way around it for other ships. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) engaged Boskalis through its subsidiary Smit International to manage marine salvage operations. The blockage of one of the world's busiest trade routes significantly slowed down trade between Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
|Date||23–29 March 2021 (2021-03-23 – 2021-03-29)|
|Time||07:40 EGY (05:40 UTC)|
|Duration||6 days and 7 hours|
|Location||Suez Canal, Suez, Egypt|
|1 fatality (unidentified)|
On 28 March, at least 369 ships were queuing to pass through the canal, stranding an estimated US$9.6 billion worth of trade. On 29 March, Ever Given was partially re-floated and moved by about 80 percent in the correct direction, although the bow remained stuck until the ship was finally freed by Egyptian, Dutch, and Italian tugs at 15:05 EGY (13:05 UTC); it took 14 tug boats at high tide to dislodge it. The ship started moving under tow towards the Great Bitter Lake for technical inspection. The canal was checked for damage and found to be sound; the SCA allowed shipping to resume from 19:00 EGY (17:00 UTC) on 29 March.
The vessel was subsequently impounded by the Egyptian government on 13 April 2021 when its owner and insurers refused to pay the demanded billion-dollar compensation. A formal settlement among the ship owner, the insurers, and the Canal Authority was finally reached in July. The ship set sail again on 7 July 2021, stopping for inspections at Port Said before continuing to its original destination, port of Rotterdam.