The Ever Given is sitting in an artificial lake off the Suez Canal while experts work out if it is fit to sail, and what to do with the 20,000 containers on board

  • The Ever Given is now in the Great Bitter Lake, part of the Suez Canal, awaiting inspection.
  • Authorities are trying to figure out if it is fit to sail, and what to do with its cargo if not.
  • The 220,000 ton ship is carrying around 20,000 containers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The recently-freed Ever Given container ship is waiting in a lake off the Suez Canal, where authorities are inspecting it for seaworthiness and working out what to do with its cargo. 

The Ever Given, a 220,000 ton, 1,300-ft long ship, was freed Monday after being grounded in the Suez Canal for six days, completely blocking the crucial maritime route. 

Following its release — thanks to tugboats and dredgers working night and day — it was moved to the Great Bitter Lake, a large body of water that divides the canal into two sections. 

The company that leases the ship, Evergreen, wrote in a statement Monday that the vessel will now be inspected to see if it can continue its originally planned journey to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.  

The Ever Given is capable of carrying 20,000 containers and was fully laden when it got stuck. According to Lt. General Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), none of them were damaged, Reuters reported.

“The ship was ready for limited navigation after an initial inspection and not a single container was damaged, but a second investigation will be more precise and if it was affected it will show,” Rabie said. 

If the Ever Given cannot sail on, it is unclear what happens next. Transferring its cargo would likely be an extremely laborious process.

A man waves an Egyptian flag as ship Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal, Egypt March 29, 2021.Suez Canal Authority via Reuters

Many of the ships held up by the Ever Given are also currently in the Bitter Lake, part of a backlog of some 400 vessels waiting to resume their journeys. Rabie said the backlog would take three and a half days to clear, Reuters reported. 

Maritime insurers are readying themselves for an unprecedented volume of claims, Lloyd’s List reported. The cost of the delay is estimated to have been around $400 million an hour.

Meanwhile, investigations into the cause of the grounding have begun. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has received the ship’s Voyage Data Recorder — the ship version of a “black box” — while the SCA is expected to begin its own probe soon, Lloyd’s List reported. 

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