Attempt to refloat ship blocking Suez Canal was unsuccessful: ship's technical manager

FILE PHOTO: A satellite image shows stranded container ship Ever Given after it ran aground in Suez Canal, Egypt March 25, 2021. CNES/AIRBUS DS via REUTERS

CAIRO (Reuters) - An attempt to refloat the stranded container ship blocking the Suez Canal has failed, the ship’s technical manager, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), said on Friday.

The firm said a Dutch rescue team from Smit Salvage had confirmed that two additional tugs would arrive on March 28 to assist in refloating the ship.

“The focus is now on dredging to remove sand and mud from around the port side of the vessel’s bow,” BSM said in a statement.

A specialised dredger that can move 2,000 cubic metres of material per hour arrived on Thursday, and arrangements are being made for high-capacity pumps to reduce water levels in the container ship’s forward void and bow thruster room, the statement added.

Initial investigations suggest the vessel was grounded because of strong wind and rule out any mechanical or engine failure as the ship was transiting the canal on Tuesday with two canal pilots on board, BSM said.

It said the 25 crew of the ship, all Indian nationals, remain onboard and are in good health.

Reporting by Nadine Awadalla and Aidan Lewis; Editing by Catherine Evans and Timothy Heritage