The Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas and cargo being shipping from East to West. Around 10% of the world's trade flows through the waterway in Egypt, with An average of 50 vessels passing through on a daily basis. And now, it might be closed for two days.
Ships in and around the Suez Canal in Egypt were thrown into quite the quandary on Wednesday as a massive cargo ship ran aground and consequently blocked the passage in a single lane area of the canal. . The MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged container ship that carries trade between Asia and Europe, is now quite stuck, having turned sideways, and according to some reports, with its bulbous bow drilling into the Canal embankment.
But this goes much beyond a stranded vessel. With the artificial sea level waterway that connects the the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and shipping lanes to Asia blocked, tankers carrying Saudi, Russian, Omani and US oil are reportedly waiting on both ends.
According to a Bloomberg report, oil prices were also affected after news of the Ever Given's plight broke. Oil had climbed as investors assessed the impact on global crude flows. Reportedly, futures in New York added 1% after news of the grounding, giving the market a reprieve amid mounting signs of weakness.
The Egyptian official said tugboats hoped to refloat the ship and that the operation would take at least two days. And in the meantime, the cascading repercussions on global shipping moving between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea could also be massive.
"Every day the canal is closed ... container ships and tankers are not delivering food, fuel and manufactured goods to Europe and goods are not being exported from Europe to the Far East," reminded Salvatore R. Mercogliano, a former merchant mariner, in conversation with AP.
(With inputs from agencies)