14 Cyprus ships waiting to enter Suez Canal

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Some 14 Cyprus-flag ships are waiting to enter the Suez Canal after the world trade waterway was reopened when the Ever Given boxship was freed, having run aground for a week.

Cyprus Deputy Shipping Minister Vassilis Demetriades tweeted, “there will be an impact on world trade and the global economy, but also lessons to be learned to improve maritime transport and the worldwide supply chain.”

He told the Cyprus News Agency “stability will return to the region” and “several days” will be needed for the 400 or so vessels in the queue to pass through the canal.

Under normal circumstances, the daily traffic through the Suez Canal would be about 55 vessels.

“This was an isolated incident, and there are no major repercussions,” Demetriades said.

He said no specific problems would impact Cyprus shipping, with no significant effect on the supply chain either.

There are 14 Cyprus-flag vessels waiting to enter the Suez Canal – eight northbound from the Red Sea and six southbound from the Mediterranean.

Two other ships, flying different flags, were expected to arrive in Cyprus with a week’s delay – a crane vessel and a general cargo ship.

Limassol-based Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), as the technical managers of the containership Ever Given, said the vessel was safely re-floated at approximately 1500 local time on Tuesday, March 29.

“BSM extends its deepest gratitude to all parties involved in the emergency response, including the Suez Canal Authority, SMIT Salvage and the crew on board, who worked tirelessly to free the vessel and to restore navigability in the Suez Canal,” it said.

Headed for inspection

The Cyprus ship management company said, “the Ever Given will now head to the Great Bitter Lake where she will undergo a full inspection.”

The lake is a large basin along the Suez Canal often used as a ‘passing lane’ where vessels can wait, change their position in queue or turn around.

Independent salvage crews and dredgers operated by the SCA worked through the night on Sunday to re-float the ship, one of the biggest container vessels in the world, that had run aground due to heavy winds while transiting northbound headed for Rotterdam on March 23.

On Sunday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi ordered the unloading of all the containers on board if salvage operations failed. It was costing the country’s economy about $13-14 mln daily.

The Panama-flag ‘Ever Given’ is owned by Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha (SKK), operated by container transport and shipping company Evergreen Marine, and managed by the German ship management company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM).