Timeline: Huge cargo vessel stuck in Suez Canal

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CAIRO, March 25 (Xinhua) — The Suez Canal, one of the world’s most vital shipping routes, was blocked after one of the world’s largest container ships ran aground in the narrow man-made channel early Tuesday, having caused disruptions to global shipments for days.

Here is a timeline of this global headline-making blockage:

March 25:

— Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said that it has temporarily suspended navigation through the world’s busiest shipping course until the grounded cargo ship is completely freed.

— Nine tug boats, with a towing power of 160 tons, and two dredges are continuing to free the 400-meter-long and 59-meter-wide vessel, the SCA said.

— Osama Rabie, chairman of the SCA, told independent extra news TV that the canal will work around the clock once the salvage and refloating operations are completed, in order to compensate for the waiting time of the ships.

— Boskalis, a Dutch firm that specializes in salvaging, arrived at the canal. Chairman Peter Berdowski told Dutch television program “Nieuwsuur” that the ship is like “a very heavy whale on the beach.”

March 24:

— The SCA said in a statement that it was diverting ships to the canal’s old channel.

— As the blockage has threatened the flow of oil through the waterway, oil prices posted a pronounced rebound.

— Eight tugboats were at work trying to dislodge the vessel.

— The grounded vessel has been partially refloated and is now alongside the Canal bank, said shipping agent GAC on its website at noon, citing information from the SCA.

March 23:

— Ever Given, a 224,000-ton container ship, was grounded early Tuesday in the new passage of the Suez Canal after being blown off course by a dust storm.

— Egypt was hit by a sand storm with heavy winds that reached up to 40 knots.

To be updated. Enditem

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