Umm Gaafar had asked to go by her nickname so as not to run afoul of the government security personnel who had passed through, warning residents not to take photos of the canal and generally spreading unease. Nadia said she was too intimidated to take pictures of the ship at night, though she badly wanted to.

Villagers and shipping analysts had the same question about the Ever Given, if rooted in different expertise. The ship’s operators have insisted that the ship ran aground because of the high winds of a sandstorm, with the stacked containers acting like a giant sail, yet other ships in the same convoy passed through without incident. So had previous ships in previous storms, the villagers pointed out.

“We’ve seen worse winds,” said Ahmad al-Sayed, 19, a security guard, “but nothing like that ever happened before.”

Shipping experts said the wind might well have been the major factor, exacerbating other physical forces, but suggested that human error may also have come into play.

“I am highly questioning, why was it the only one that went aground?” Captain Foran said. “But they can talk about all that later. Right now, they just have to get that beast out of the canal.”

Nada Rashwan contributed reporting.

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