Suez Canal Authority Chairperson Osama Rabie speaks in a press conference on Monday – Egypt Today/Samar Samir
CAIRO – 29 March 2021: Suez Canal Authority Chairperson Osama Rabie said on Monday that daily losses of the canal due to the six-day blockage caused by the Panamanian Ever Given ship are estimated at $12 to $15 million.
Suez Canal Authority (SCA) confirmed earlier on Monday that the stranded giant vessel was successfully refloated in the canal. The ship sailed toward The Bitter Lakes for inspection.
Navigation through the canal was officially resumed on Monday after the ship was tugged. This opens the way to hundreds of vessels awaiting entry thus far, including oil tankers as the giant ship had diagonally blocked the canal.
“We are working round the clock to end the traffic jam in the canal and a total of 113 vessels will cross the canal from 6:00 pm on Monday to 8:00 am on Tuesday,” Rabie stated.
The traffic Jam could end within three days and a half as “we will work round the clock,” Rabie said.
He noted that the SCA will consider and study providing incentives for the stranded vessels.
Three vessels carrying cattle were allowed to cross the canal first at 6:00 pm Cairo Time, said Rabie.
Rabie reiterated that a personal error or a technical error is likely to have caused the ship to run aground. He denied that wind is the only reason behind the accident.
Rabie said the responsibility for ships lie on the shoulders of the captain, while the Suez Canal Instructor who accompanies the captain in the canal only has an advisory opinion, according to the executive regulations.
The SCA chief said there are other parties that will be involved in the investigation. He added that these parties will stay until the investigation is complete and the main reason behind this incident is disclosed.
Rabie affirmed that navigation was resumed at 6 pm (Cairo Time) in both sides after the giant ship was successfully tugged. He added that it is the first time in the world for such salvage operation to take place without offloading the containers.
Rabie said the refloating process could have taken if it happened in other countries.
The ship, since its floatation, was ready for a limited sailing to the Bitter Lakes, Rabie said, affirming that the ship has no oil leakage and that the containers were not damaged.
Two non-Egyptian giant tugboats arrived at the canal, one from the Netherlands and the second from Italy, Rabie said, adding that the authority did not use the Italian one.
“Among the difficulties we faced was the direction of the water current,” Rabie said.
Rabie confirmed reports that the ship returned to the position where it was stuck after it was partially refloated. He, however, said it was easy to refloat the ship completely after that.
Rabie said the SCA is studying means to enhance the canal authority’s rescue capabilities.