A giant freighter operated by Taiwan Evergreen Shipping ran aground on the Suez Canal, which hindered this busy maritime trade route. Some analysts say that this may affect the transportation of oil, natural gas and other materials from the Middle East to Europe, and even affect the global supply chain in the next few months.
The giant freighter "Long Ci" got stuck in the northbound channel of the Suez Canal on its way to Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The freighter is 400 meters long, 59 meters wide, and has a displacement of approximately 220,000 tons. It is one of the largest ships currently in operation.
According to media reports, the "Changci" encountered strong winds and sandstorms on March 23. The hull deviated from the channel and accidentally bottomed and ran aground. After being stranded, the freighter blocked the Suez Canal almost horizontally, causing the shipping traffic to be blocked.
"Nagai" was built in 2018 and its owner is Shoei Kisen. The Central News Agency reported that the ship was a "time-based commissioner", which was chartered by Taiwan Evergreen Shipping on time, and the crew was dispatched by the shipowner company.
According to Agence France-Presse, Japan's Masei Steamship stated on Thursday (March 25) that it encountered great difficulties in trying to get the freighter out of trouble. The company also "sincerely apologized" for the current blockage of the Suez Canal in its statement, adding that there have been no casualties or oil spills.
At present, several tugboats in Egypt are involved in the rescue work. However, Zhengrong Steamboat told AFP that "we still don't know how long it will take" to re-float, and said that it is currently trying to dig the river under the bow and plans to tow the boat again when the tide is high.
The company also said that the ship has an insurance policy, but the details and costs are not yet known.
What impact will it have on shipping and economy and trade?
The Suez Canal is located on the west side of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, across the Isthmus of Suez at the junction of Asia and Africa. It connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. It is the shortest waterway between Europe and Asia and a vital maritime route in the world. The existence of this canal prevents ships from Asia and Europe from bypassing the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, greatly saving voyages.
Nowadays, the grounding of the "Changci" has made it impossible for the cargo ships before and after it to pass, and the voyage has been delayed. According to a report from the Associated Press on Thursday, at least 150 ships are currently affected and stuck on the Suez Canal. The report pointed out that the blockage of the canal may affect the transportation of oil and natural gas from the Middle East to Europe.
According to the estimates of Lloyd's List, an internationally renowned shipping industry magazine, the suspension of the Suez Canal for one day will result in a delay of 9 billion U.S. dollars worth of freight.
Lars Jensen, chief officer of Danish shipping consulting agency SeaIntelligence Consulting, told The Associated Press that the blockage of the Suez Canal will bring about a domino effect, not just freight delays, but "will also affect the supply chain in a matter of months."