The giant container ship which blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March has just successfully completed its first voyage through the trade route since the disaster.
The 200,000-tonne Ever Given was escorted by senior pilots and two tugboats as it crossed the waterway on Friday, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement.
Travelling from the UK to China, the ship traversed the canal in a convoy of 26 vessels sailing from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. Another 36 ships also crossed the passage from the south.
The 400m-long vessel caused global disruption after it became jammed across the canal in high winds on 23 March, halting traffic in both directions in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Some 15 per cent of world shipping traffic transits the canal, which is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia, with roughly 1 million barrels of oil passing through each day.
For six days, as engineers desperately sought to free the vessel, it blocked this passage to hundreds of ships, many of which were forced to take a much longer route around the Cape of Good Hope on Africa’s southern tip.
In April, the canal’s managing authority claimed the cost of losses and damages as a result of the blockage were likely to top £730m.
Once it was dislodged, the vessel eventually left Egypt on 7 July – 106 days after first getting stuck.
Egypt released the Ever Given after protracted negotiations and an undisclosed settlement reached between the SCA and the ship’s owners and insurers. Egypt had reportedly demanded £397m in compensation for the disruption.
It arrived in the Dutch port of Rotterdam on 29 July before heading to Felixstowe, in England. According to MarineTraffic, the ship left the Suffolk port on 5 August and is “partially laden” with cargo.
Friday’s voyage through the canal was the Ever Given’s 22nd in the waterway.
Additional reporting by Reuters