Ever Given Owner Apologizes, Officials Say It May Take Weeks to Refloat Vessel
By Staff, Agencies
Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the Japanese owner of the giant cargo ship, issued a statement on Thursday apologizing for the unintended setback as officials tasked with clearing the passage suggest it may take weeks.
The company noted that the Ever Given got stuck across the narrow canal on Tuesday as a result of “stormy weather” that forced the vessel to run aground, and acknowledged that it was working with maritime solutions provider Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement to remedy the situation.
“The situation is extremely difficult,” officials stated in a Thursday release. “We sincerely apologize for causing a great deal of concern to the vessels scheduled to sail and all related parties while navigating the Suez Canal.”
Officials also indicated that none of the crew members aboard the Ever Green sustained any injuries, and that at present there are no indications of any oil spills as a result of the incident.
Despite repeated attempts by a flotilla of tugboats, dredgers and diggers, the Ever Given has remained embedded in the Suez Canal, even after fruitless efforts were renewed at high tide earlier today.
Aiding in the removal efforts is also Dutch company Smit Salvage, whose parent company is construction firm Boskalis. Offering some insight into the latest refloating measures, Boskalis’ CEO Peter Berdowski revealed that freeing the Ever Given from the Suez Canal could take several days to weeks.
In comments to Dutch outlet Nieuwsuur, Berdowski remarked that the Panamanian-flagged container vessel is like “a very heavy whale on the beach, so to speak,” and that with 20,000 fully loaded containers aboard, there is “enormous weight on the sandbar.”
As recent efforts have not proven successful, Berdowski did speculate that an option to free the 1,300-foot-long vessel could be to simply remove some containers, as it has become increasingly clear that “it is not really possible to pull loose.”
"But the more secure the ship is, the longer an operation will take,” he pointed out. “It can take days to weeks. Also consider bringing in all the equipment we need, that's not around the corner."
However, this is not the first time that a cargo ship has blocked the canal. Previously, in 2017, a Japanese vessel encountered mechanical issues and temporarily created some traffic as tug boats were deployed for the assist.
At present, latest figures from officials state that some 156 vessels are waiting in the Suez Canal for passage.