- Traffic has resumed in Egypt’s Suez Canal after a stranded container ship blocking it for nearly a week was finally freed by salvage crews.
- Tug boats honked their horns in celebration as the 400m-long (1,300ft) Ever Given was dislodged on Monday with the help of dredgers.
- Hundreds of ships are waiting to pass through the canal which links the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.
- Egyptian officials say the backlog of ships waiting to transit through should be cleared in around three days,
- But experts believe the knock-on effect on global shipping could take weeks or even months to resolve.
How was the ship freed?
- In the early hours of Monday, rescue workers from the SCA and the Dutch company Smit Salvage used tug boats to move the 2 lakh-tonne ship from the canal bank,
- Following dredging and excavation work over the weekend.
- The ship is 400m long – more than the height of the Empire State Building.
- Dredgers were brought in and dug 30,000 cubic metres of mud and sand from beneath the ends of the ship.
- A Dutch specialist team, SMIT, oversaw a flotilla of 13 tugs, small but powerful vessels that can shift large ships, as they tried to dislodge the Ever Given.
Role of high tide
- Over the weekend, it was feared that some of the ship’s cargo of some 18,000 containers would have to be removed in order to lighten the load.
- But high tides helped the tugs and dredgers in their work and early on Monday, the stern (rear of the ship) was freed and the great ship swung across the canal, to shouts of celebration.
- Hours later, the bow (front) too came unstuck, and the Ever Given was able to move out.
Great bitter lake
- The vessel was towed to the Great Bitter Lake, which sits between two sections of the canal to the north of the salvage site, where it will undergo safety checks.
- The ship will now undergo a full inspection at the Great Bitter Lake, the vessel’s technical managers, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.
- It said there had been no reports of pollution or cargo damage, and initial investigations had ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding last week.
- The ship’s Indian crew of 25 remaining aboard the vessel are safe and in good health, BSM said, adding: “Their hard work and tireless professionalism are greatly appreciated.”
- When the salvage operation started, there were concerns that it could take weeks to conclude,
- Causing some ships to take a U-turn to go on the extra two week-long journey via the Cape of Good Hope, incurring an extra $26,000 in fuel costs per day
- While the exact cost is not known yet, experts estimate the whole disruption could cost the global insurance industry several hundred millions of dollars.
- “The insurance industry is waiting with bated breath at the direction from which claims can arise out of this canal blockage and of course what could be the enormity of the exposure.“
- From India, ICICI Lombard and Tata AIG are the leading marine insurers from the private sector whereas New India Assurance and Oriental Insurance are dominant among the state-owned insurers.
- While the ship owner will claim the expense from its hull and machinery (H&M) insurer,
- The cargo owners will claim this cost from their marine insurers.
- In terms of annual premiums accrued, the size of India’s marine insurance industry is around Rs 4000 crore. In FY21, as of February, the industry has done marine insurance worth Rs 3216 crore for both cargo and H&M insurance.
Q) Which committee recommended the establishment of IRDA?
- N. Mehrotra Committee
- N. Malhotra Committee
- R. Gadgil Committee
- Rajmannr Committee