The latest news comes from the blocked Suez Canal!
At 4:40 on the 29th local time, the map showed that the position of the freighter on the Sesuiz Canal had been corrected, which had previously completely blocked both banks of the Suez Canal. The freighter that blocked the Suez Canal successfully resurfaced.
1. How difficult is the rescue?
The freighter is nearly 400 meters long and 59 meters wide. It carries more than 18,000 containers and weighs 224,000 tons. The container stack height on the ship reaches 52 meters.
“In the first 4 days after the freighter ran aground, the weather conditions were extremely bad, and the windy, dusty weather and tides severely affected the rescue operations.” Rabie said that the rescue team has repeatedly tried to use the high tide to make the freighter float again, but the tide is countercurrent. Disrupt the rescue plan. The bottom of the ship aground is all relatively hard stones, which also increases the difficulty of excavation.
"On March 24, the rescue team tested the soil quality of the bottom of the stranded cargo ship and found that the bow and stern were pressed on the rocks on both sides of the canal, and the middle of the ship was still floating on the water. This increased the difficulty of rescue. If a tugboat is used to rescue at this time , The entire freighter will be severely damaged.” Rabie said.
After the freighter ran aground, the Canal Authority changed the schedule for the passage of the vessel. The 12 freighters in front of the stranded freighter passed through the canal smoothly, but the 37 ships at the back were forced to suspend due to channel blockage. At the same time, ships sailing from north to south were transferred to the Great Bitter Lake.
2. Continuous operation digs away huge amounts of sediment
On March 25, the rescue command center formulated three plans: one is to use a tugboat to directly tow the cargo ship to the center of the channel; the other is to use an excavator to dig out the sand at the bow and bottom of the stern, and use the buoyancy of the water to get the ship out of trouble; The third is to unload the containers on the ship-this is also one of the worst solutions, which takes a long time and is costly.
"We did not adopt the third option, because there was no unloading equipment at the time, and the freighter might be damaged during the unloading process." Rabie explained that it was not until Egyptian President Sisi ordered to make preparations for unloading that the Canal Authority leased the relevant equipment .
Rabie said that the rescue team would measure the space under the ship every day after the excavation. After the excavation work was completed on the 25th, the bottom space of the bow was 8 meters deep, and the bottom space of the stern was 2 to 5 meters deep. For safety reasons, the Administration used a smaller excavator for the operation that day.
On the 26th, the ship's hull crushed the embankment of the canal. The administration began to use large excavators to dig the rocks around the bottom of the ship's bow. Workers began to build a new embankment with cement. After the excavation work was completed that day, the depth of the bow bottom had reached 12 meters, the bow, stern, rudder and propellers began to move, and the rudder could be adjusted by 30 degrees left and right.
On the 27th, the rescue team removed the metal coating outside the embankment that was crushed by the freighter, because once the hull floats, the metal will damage the hull. After the rescue work ended that day, the depth of excavation in the bow of the ship reached 18 meters, and 29,000 cubic meters of sediment were removed.
3. The big tide brings hope of relief
On the 28th, the rescue team used two excavators to continue digging, and 12 tugboats towed from both sides of the hull. Later, two newly mobilized heavy tugs joined the operation.
At 4 o'clock in the morning on March 29, the stern of the freighter got out of trouble and floated, and the stern was 12 meters away from the canal embankment. Soon after, the canal ushered in the expected high tide, and the rescue team continued to work with the help of the tide.
"The rising tide is also one of the main factors for the success of the rescue." Rabie said.
At about 3:30 pm on the 29th, the entire hull of the freighter finally floated. The surrounding freighters honked their whistle, the crew waved and cheered, and the rescue was declared successful.
Rabie said on the 30th that as of 8 am that day, 113 container ships had passed through the Suez Canal. There are still more than 300 freighters stuck in the canal. The Suez Canal Authority will work hard to solve the congestion problem. The canal is expected to resume normal traffic within 3 days.
"All cargo ships waited patiently and did not choose to detour." Rabie said that the Suez Canal is still an efficient and safe waterway. After the cause of the accident is investigated, the Canal Administration will file a claim with the responsible party.
When visiting the Maritime Training and Simulation Center of the Suez Canal Authority, Egyptian President Sisi said that the ship stranding incident once again highlighted the importance of the Suez Canal. He asked the government to purchase more dredgers and tugs to cope with the large number of vessel traffic needs on the canal.