An investigation into how the Ever Given ship became stuck in the Suez Canal started on Tuesday hours after traffic on one of the world's busiest and most important trade routes resumed overnight.
Experts boarded the giant vessel to assess it for damage and to begin a probe into how it got wedged into in the canal's bank for almost a week, disrupting billions of dollars worth of trade.
Some thirty-seven vessels that were stranded in the waterway while authorities dealt with the Ever Given managed to pass through overnight on Monday and around 70 more were expected to clear the strait by the end of Tuesday.
Authorities said they hoped to clear a backlog of more than 300 ships waiting to enter the canal in a matter of days, but shipping experts warned the impact the disruption has had on global supply chains could take months to resolve.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the Suez Canal crisis.
Global supply chains could be hit for months
Global supply chains could be affected for months despite the refloating of the Ever Given vessel and resumption of traffic on the Suez Canal, the world's largest shipping company has warned.
Danish shipping giant Maersk said the "ripple effects" of the Ever Given's grounding on the canal for nearly a week has triggered a series of disruptions that could take "weeks, possibly months, to unravel."
367 ships still stuck on either end of canal
At least 367 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, are backed up waiting to pass through the canal, service provider Leth Agencies said.
Dozens of others have taken the long, alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip — a 5,000-kilometer (3,100-mile) detour that costs ships hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other costs.
Probe into Ever Given’s ground gets underway
Experts on Tuesday boarded the Ever Given as the investigation into how it became grounded got underway.
A senior canal pilot, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists, told The Associated Press that experts were looking for signs of damage and trying to determine the cause of the vessel’s grounding.
The ship’s owner had previously said the vessel was blown off course by a gust of win.
Recap: Everything we know about the Ever Given ship
My colleagues Joe Sommerland and Eleanor Sly have this helpful write-up on the ship that brought billions of dollars in trade to a standstill:
Giant container carrier has finally been freed
Watch: Gigantic ship freed from bank of canal
ICYMI: Global shipping, the world’s most opaque industry
Our economics editor Ben Chu unpicks “the intricate web of registration, ownership and operation responsibilities” within the shipping industry.
The blockage in the Suez Canal has shone a spotlight on a major international industry where there is often a drought of accountability and transparency, says Ben Chu
Locals watch on as ship set free
Ever Given’s Japanese owner will take part in investigation into grounding
The company that owns the Ever Given will take part in the probe into how the ship became wedged in the Suez Canal.
Japanese firm Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd said on Tuesday that it would cooperate with the probe but did not name any of the other parties involved.
The firm would also not comment on the possible causes of the grounding.
Initial reports also suggested a “blackout” struck the vessel, something denied by the ship’s technical manager.
Damage to Ever Given could be structural, captain warns
Damage to the Ever Given from its grounding in the Suez Canal could be structural, a ship captain has warned.
John Konrad, founder and CEO of the shipping news website gcaptain.com, said investigators will be looking for signs of cracks in the vessel.
He said: "Structural integrity is No. 1. You know, there was a lot of strain on that ship as it was sagging in the waterway."
He added: "They have to check everything for cracks and particularly that rudder and the propeller in the back that's connected to the engine room."
"And then they have to go through all the mechanical equipment, make sure they test the engines, all the safety valves, all the equipment, and then determine that it's safe to sail either by itself or with a tug escort to the next port."
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies