Cairo: The giant Ever Given container ship was finally pulled free from the bank of the Suez Canal, allowing for a massive tail back of ships to start navigating once again through one of the world's most important trade routes.
Almost a week after it was stranded across the critical waterway, snarling global trade that was already under strain, salvage teams pulled the ship free from the sandy bank with tugs. Horns sounded in celebration as she made her way up the canal after an operation that involved moving 30,000 cubic meters of sand.
The canal authority said navigation would resume, without setting a time. Container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd AG expects transit through the waterway to start Monday evening, and the backlog of vessels to be cleared within four days.
Earlier, crude oil prices fell after news the ship had been re-floated, with Brent crude down by $1 per barrel to $63.67. Shares of Taiwan-listed Evergreen Marine Corp - the vessel's lessor - rose 3.3 per cent.
About 15 per cent of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is a key source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt. The current stoppage is costing the canal $14-$15 million a day.
Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage has disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.
Some shippers had decided to reroute their cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to journeys and extra fuel costs.
A note from A.P. Moeller Maersk seen by Reuters said it had so far redirected 15 vessels around the Cape after calculating that the journey would be equal to the current delay of sailing to Suez and queuing.