SUEZ, Egypt—Engineers partly freed a wedged ship blocking the Suez Canal, and tug boats are now working to straighten its course, which could soon reopen the vital trade route and end days of global supply disruptions.
Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, which operates the waterway, said Monday that tugs dislodged the bow of the 1,300-foot Ever Given, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Group, from the eastern bank of the canal.
“We are not finished yet, but it has moved,” he said, adding that tugboats would continue for another hour or so to ensure the ship could resume moving up the canal.
A person involved in the effort said higher-than-usual spring tides were helping and the ship has moved around 25 yards. “We are getting there, but not there yet,” he said.
Some 320 vessels are waiting to pass through the canal, blocked since the Ever Given into its east side during stormy weather on March 23. If engineers are able to free the ship and move it to a port, that would relieve the growing strain on the global shipping industry and transit of oil, gas and consumer goods between Asia and Europe. Some 13% of global maritime trade and 10% of seaborne oil shipments transit the canal.