Suez Canal Is "Clear" As Ever Given Reaches Great Bitter Lake

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Mar 29, 2021 - 03:55 PM

(Update 1220ET): With the Suez Canal clear, vessels who have been waiting nearly a week to transit the canal are finally entering. 

Refinitiv marine traffic data shows general cargo ship Chipolbrok Galaxy has entered the northern end of the Suez Canal. 

More than 450 vessels are waiting to transit the canal and could take at least ten days to normalize

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Update (1155ET): Refinitiv marine traffic data shows Ever Given is passing through Little Bitter Lake. The vessel is currently using its engines, traveling at 8.60 knots. Initial reports state the containership is supposed to stop in Little Bitter Lake for examination but could be headed to Greater Bitter Lake. This means the canal is now "clear" and ready for other vessels to transit. 

Here's a video of Ever Given entering Great Bitter Lake.

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Update (0944ET): With Ever Given officially dislodged and transiting down the canal, there are more than 450 vessels waiting to use the waterway.

Here's Ever Given's travel path so far. 

The vessel is heading to "Little Bitter Lake" for inspection. 

As for the logjam of vessels waiting to transit the canal, it could take upwards of ten days to normalize

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Update: (0921 ET): Reuters reports the stranded container ship is now "freed," according to shipping data and sources. Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman reports traffic in the channel can resume. 

Reuters notes, "Ever Given is seen underway using engines and heading towards Bitter Lakes area."

"The Suez Canal Authority confirms that the stranded EVER GIVEN vessel was successfully refloated in the canal," Egypt Today Magazine reports. 

More video of Ever Given refloated. 

Crude futures stumble on the reopening of the canal. 

Here's a live feed of the "freed" megaship.  

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Update: (0900 ET): Egypt Today Magazine reports tugboat operations to pull the stranded container ship in the Suez Canal "temporarily stopped due to water currents and to be resumed at 3:00 pm (Cairo Time)." 

Logistics company Leth Agencies confirms Egypt Today Magazine's report by tweeting: "As the tide is lowering, tugs appear to temporarily cease their operations at #EVERGIVEN. Updates regarding continued efforts to follow."

With refloating efforts stopped, the amount of vessels waiting to transit one of the world's most important waterways has reached more than 450 vessels. 

The global supply chain remains paralyzed along the Suez Canal. Still, there's no timeline on when Ever Given will be completely refloated. 

... things that make you go hmm...

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The Ever Given container ship, stuck in the southern part of the Suez Canal, has been partially refloated, according to Egypt Today Magazine. Tugboat efforts will continue Monday around high tide to clear the blockage in one of the world's most important shipping lanes. Ever Given has been paralyzed in the canal for nearly a week as more than 450 ships are queued up, waiting to transit the vital shipping lane while others have rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope

A statement by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said the container ship has "responded to the pulling and towing maneuvers." We reported Sunday at least 14 tugboats and a dredging vessel have worked around the clock for days to move the Ever Given. SCA gave no timeline when the canal would reopen since the vessel is only partially refloated. 

Egypt Today Magazine, using VesselFinder, shows Ever Given's positioning has changed. The vessel's bow is positioned more into the channel than ever before. 

The local news agency tweeted a video of the salvage team blaring their foghorns in jubilation after the vessel was partially refloated. 

VesselFinder shows Ever Given's trajectory has dramatically shifted into the channel.

SCA confirmed on Monday Ever Given changed its course and is "80% refloated after it was partially freed." 

Egypt Today Magazine notes tugboats have led to the vessel's partial refloating, and the stern is now 102 meters away from the bank of the canal. There will be additional maneuvers later today once high tide arrives to fully refloat the vessel and position it in the middle of the channel. 

As a result of the positive news, crude prices retreated, with Brent crude futures dipping as much as 1.5%. 

Peter Berdowski, chief executive officer of Boskalis Westminster, the salvage team's parent company, told Bloomberg with the vessel partially refloated, the stern of the ship is "still very stuck in the mud." 

"Putting the rear end of the ship afloat was the easy part," Berdowski said to Dutch NPO Radio. "The challenging part will be the front of the ship. Now, we will start working at the front."

There are still no timelines when the vessel will be fully refloated. More than 450 ships have been stuck around the canal, waiting to transit the canal. Global supply chains have already been affected as some vessels have rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope. 

Even when Ever Given is refloated - the backlog of vessels, 450 and counting, would mean that it would take at least ten days to resume normal activity in the canal, meaning the Suez crisis is not over. 

Source: Bloomberg 

"It's one thing to refloat the ship, and it's another thing to clear the canal of traffic completely," Hugo De Stoop, CEO of oil-shipping firm Euronav, said to Bloomberg Television. "Whatever has been accumulated so far will take time to clear. Tentative timeline is probably two to three weeks, because the Suez canal was used probably at full capacity."

With the vessel partially refloated, and once high tide returns, the vessel's own propulsion system might be used in conjunction with the dozen-plus tugboats. 

The good news is that the worst-case scenario of unloading the vessel might be avoided. As JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic told clients last week, any reloading of the vessel risks "ship breaking."