After multiple failed attempts to refloat the giant container ship, Ever Given, stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, the head of the canal authority on Sunday said that the officials were preparing for the ‘third scenario’, according to The Washington Post. Osama Rabie, the chairperson of the Suez Canal Authority, reportedly told Egyptian television that President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi has ordered to prepare for the unloading of the Ever Given cargo carrier.
While dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel, two additional tugboats, the Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magna, have been called in to help the tugboats already there attempting to nudge the skyscraper-sized container ship. Leth Agencies, the canal’s service provider, tweeted Sunday morning that the tidal conditions didn’t help the overnight attempts of refloating Ever Given.
Rabei had earlier expressed hope that dredging could free the ship without removing its cargo, however, added that “we are in a difficult situation, it’s a bad incident.” Under the third scenario, some of the 18,000 containers will be unloaded from the 200,000-ton container ship which is disrupting a global shipping network. Rabie reportedly told the Egyptian channel that the unloading would require special equipment and the president authorised obtaining it as dredging continues.
“His excellency has ordered that we should not wait for the failure of the first and second scenarios to start thinking about implementing the third one,” Rabie was quoted by the Post as saying.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, technical manager of Even Given which oversees the ship’s crew and maintenance, on Saturday announced that “significant progress” was made the previous night to free the vessel’s rudder from sediment. The company said in a statement that initial investigations rule out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding.
A top pilot with the canal authority told Associated Press that two attempts have been planned for Sunday to free the vessel. “Sunday is very critical. It will determine the next step, which highly likely involves at least the partial offloading of the vessel.” the pilot said.