The Suez Canal Authority on Thursday announced the suspension of navigation in the waterway until a container ship that has been stranded is successfully floated.
Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, the head of the authority, said in a statement that he decided to suspend the navigation traffic in the canal until the completion of the floatation work of the giant Panamanian container ship Ever Given.
Rabie noted that 13 ships crossed the canal on Wednesday from the Mediterranean towards the Red Sea.
He attributed the decision to efforts that are still underway to float the container ship that has been stranded in the canal since Tuesday.
The vessel, Ever Given, ran aground, causing a backlog of ships in the canal.
The rescue teams suspended the ship’s float operation on Wednesday evening to resume this morning, Bloomberg quoted officials in the Suez Canal as saying on Thursday.
Egyptian officials said that more rescue members would arrive at the location to speed up the flotation operation.
According to a Bloomberg report, about 180 ships remain stranded in the Red and Mediterranean seas.
However, on Wednesday evening, the Suez Canal Authority said that the ships coming from the Mediterranean towards the Red Sea resumed passing through the canal without giving further details.
The stranded container ship, with a length of 400 meters (1,312 feet) and a width of 59 meters (194 feet), and a cargo of 224,000 tons, was sailing from China to Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The Suez Canal, considered one of the most important canals and straits worldwide, is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia and it is one of the main sources of foreign currency for Egypt.