This photo, released by the Suez Canal Authority on Friday March 26, 2021, shows the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, after being jammed across the Suez Canal blocking traffic on the vital waterway. Tugs and a specialized suction dredger were working on Friday to remove a huge container ship that has been stuck sideways in Egypt’s Suez Canal for three days, blocking an important waterway for worldwide shipping.
Suez Canal Authority | AP
The White House said Friday the US had offered to assist Egypt in its ongoing efforts to free a massive cargo ship in the Suez Canal.
“We are following the situation very closely,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki to reporters, noting that the blockade appears to be weighing on the energy markets.
“As part of our active diplomatic dialogue with Egypt, we have offered US assistance to the Egyptian authorities to help reopen the canal,” said Psaki.
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“We are discussing with our Egyptian partners how we can best support their efforts. So these discussions are ongoing and we hope that we will have more to say about them soon,” she said.
The Ever Given, one of the largest shipping lines in the world, has blocked all traffic along the critical trade route since it ran aground more than three days earlier.
With a length of about 400 meters, the ship is almost as long as the Empire State Building.
Merchant cargo and container ships anchor while waiting to cross the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt on Thursday March 25, 2021.
Islam Safwat | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Some fear it could take weeks to clear the channel, which handles around 12% of world trade. This prospect is gradually affecting the economy and disrupting international supply chains.
“We are seeing some potential impact of the Suez Canal’s role as a major two-way transit route for oil on energy markets and this is obviously one of the reasons we offered assistance from the US,” Psaki said Friday.
“We are in close consultation with the Egyptians,” she said, adding, “we will continue to monitor market conditions and respond appropriately if necessary, but we are monitoring this closely.”
A map shows a traffic jam in the Suez Canal, Egypt, March 25, 2021.
MarineTraffic | Reuters