Middle East

Suez Canal shipping backlog ends, days after giant vessel freed

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CAIRO, April 3 (Reuters) - All ships stranded by the grounding of the giant container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal in March had passed through the canal by Saturday, ending the backlog that built up during the blockage, the canal authority said.

The last 61 ships, out of 422 ships that were queuing when the vessel was dislodged on Monday, passed through the vital trade artery on Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said.

International supply chains were thrown into disarray when the 400-metre-long (430-yard) Ever Given ran aground in the canal on March 23, with specialist rescue teams taking almost a week to free her after extensive dredging and repeated tugging operations.

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A ship is seen after sailing through Suez Canal as traffic resumes after a container ship that blocked the waterway was refloated, in Ismailia, Egypt, March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Hanaa Habib/

In total, 85 ships had been due to pass through the canal on Saturday including 24 ships that arrived after Ever Given was dislodged, the SCA said.

An SCA investigation began on Wednesday into what caused the vessel to run aground in the canal and block the waterway for six days, the canal authority's chairman, Osama Rabie, told the MBC Masr private TV late on Friday.

“The investigation is going well and will take two more days, then we will announce the results,” he added.

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Reporting by Omar Fahmy and Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Pravin Char

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