The state-owned authority operating the Suez Canal is considering some financial initiatives for vessels that were unable to pass through the vital waterway blocked by a skyscraper-sized container ship.
The Ever Given, which has been stuck in the canal since Tuesday, created a backlog of nearly 370 vessels, including 25 oil tankers, Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, told Al Arabiya on Sunday. He added that the authority is working to meet the logistical needs of the stuck vessels and may provide discounts for them. Rabie did not elaborate on the details of the initiative, and it is unclear which ships would qualify for it.
The blockage costs the canal $13-14 million in lost revenue daily, he said.
The operation to free one of the world’s biggest container ships made some progress over the weekend. More than 20,000 tons of sand and mud were removed, allowing the Ever Given’s bow and stern to be loosened. The rescue operation continued on Sunday, but it is still unclear when traffic through the Suez Canal will fully resume. Some carriers have already diverted their ships from the waterway to avoid the gridlock.
However, the authorities are bracing for the worst. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered that preparations be made to remove some of the ship’s cargo to help refloat it, Rabie said. It was initially hoped that this type of operation could be avoided, at it would require more time.
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