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Jumat, 26 Maret 2021

Confused about the massive ship stuck diagonally across the Suez Canal? Here's what you need to know - ABC News

It's not every day Egypt's Suez Canal makes international headlines.

In fact, many people may have never heard of the region until recently, after a massive cargo ship got stuck diagonally across the canal.

So, if you're unclear on what the canal is, what's been going on and why it's significant— here's a breakdown. 

So, what's actually happened?

A massive container ship called the Ever Given has been stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal since Tuesday.

The 400 metre-long, 200,000-tonne vessel became wedged across the canal amid high winds and a dust storm. 

The Japanese owner of the ship recently apologised and said dislodging the Ever Given was proving extremely difficult.

Marine and salvage engineers failed in their latest attempt.

A boat navigates in front of a massive cargo ship, named the Ever Green,
The ship's bow and stern had been lifted up against either side of the canal.(

AP: Suez Canal Authority

)

So, why is this significant? Well, It's blocking the international trade route and halting global shipping operations.

This is a big deal because the ship's size and wind conditions could hamper efforts to clear the busy shipping route in time.  

At least seven tug boats and a large number of people are working to free the vessel, but it's still stuck. 

But let's simplify things a little more. What's the background of the busy canal?

What is the Suez Canal?

A tracking map of the Suez Canal with coloured dots showing the number of ships waiting to get through
More than 150 other ships (shown here as yellow and orange dots) are waiting for the Ever Given (in the red square) to get out of their way.(

Supplied/Maritime Vessel Traffic

)

The Suez Canal is an artificial waterway in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and it's a crucial route from Europe to the Indian and western Pacific Oceans.

The canal is one of the busiest freight waterways in the world.

Shipping experts estimate that if the blockage isn't cleared soon, some shipping firms may be forced to re-route vessels around the southern tip of Africa, adding roughly a week to their transit time.

The canal extends from the northern terminus of Port Said to the southern terminus of Port Tewfik at the city of Suez.

Its length is 193.3 kilometres, including its northern and southern access channels, and was first constructed in 1859 before officially opening in November 1869.

How many ships go through it and how long are delays?

An estimated 12 per cent of global trade passes through the canal, as it provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.

The canal is a more direct route avoiding the South Atlantic and southern Indian oceans, cutting travel time from the Arabian Sea to Europe by 8-10 days, or 8,900 kilometres.

An alternative route, around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, can take two weeks longer.

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Almost 19,000 ships passed through the canal in 2020, according to the Suez Canal Authority and there are currently 156 vessels waiting in the area to pass through.

A blockage of this kind and of this scale has never happened in the Canal's 150-year history. 

The Ever Given has cut access in the middle of the waterway, forcing the ships to wait in limbo, either along the canal or at either end. 

The ship's owners and the people waiting on the cargo on board will be mainly affected, as the traffic jam is causing significant flow-on effects, with ships coming from all over the world to deliver cargo. 

How is the Panama Canal different?

Ever Green, sits with its bow stuck into the wall in the Suez canal.
The Ever Given blockage has already affected shipping rates and caused disruption in supplying retail goods.(

AP: Suez Canal Authority

)

So, how is the Suez Canal different to the Panama Canal and could this blockage happen there?

A blockage as significant as this highlights an issue that the shipping industry could face with other canals, as more and more ships transit through and containers get larger. 

The Panama Canal is an artificial 82 kilometre waterway connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. 

In contrast to the Suez, the Panama Canal locks at each end, creating a smoother transition for ships. 

The locks allow transit of larger, neo-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo, making it possible, but less likely to have a blockage as severe.

What could happen next?

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Play Video. Duration: 31 seconds
Suez Canal traffic jam builds as massive container ship remains stuck

The Ever Given blockage has already affected shipping rates and caused disruption in supplying retail goods.

It's estimated the blockage may take longer than expected to clear, with a possibility the process could take weeks amid bad weather.

The suspension of traffic has deepened problems for shipping lines that were already facing disruption and delays.

Analysts expect a larger upward impact on smaller tankers and oil products if the canal remains shut for weeks.

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2021-03-26 19:17:47Z
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