Speaking of the Suez

Logan Wells

On Tuesday, March 23, at approximately 5:40 am local time, a 400-meter cargo ship named the Ever Given was caught in a sandstorm in the Suez Canal. It Weighed 200,000 tonnes, which is roughly 441 MILLION pounds. The Ever Given is a colossal ship, but it was going through one of the most widely used and high necessary canals in the world. 

The morning of March 23, the Suez canal was going through some rough weather but nothing this dramatic was expected. The wind was gusting at speeds exceeding 40 miles per hour, and there was a sandstorm blowing through from the Sinai desert the Ever Given was on its way to deliver its 18,300 cargo crates to The Netherlands, specifically, Rotterdam. 

With the wind blowing sideways across the canal, it turned the bow of the ship off to the starboard side eventually lodging it in the side of the waterway. Originally it was estimated that it would take about ten days to get the ship moving again. However, after a valiant six-day effort, and 70,000 cubic feet of sand being moved, the ship was dislodged and according to Business Insider is being “…inspected for seaworthiness,” The inspection is being held at Great Bitter Lake, which is great in size and divides the canal into two sections. 

After the inspection, it will most likely either continue its route to Rotterdam or to Taiwan, which is the maiden land of the ship to be worked on if it is declared unfit for travel. According to the Washington Post, there was an interview with a “…high ranking canal pilot…” The pilot was quoted as saying “The ships today are just bigger than they used to be,” he continued “This is something new. We haven’t seen this before.” 

The incident that occurred nearly 10 days ago could’ve been prevented. If there were regulations on how large ships could be in length, then the vessel almost couldn’t have gotten stuck. If these types of directives were in place, it wouldn’t have the length to hit either side of the barrier at the same time. By that theory, if a craft were to be less than three hundred meters it could get through the passage sideways even at its narrowest point. 

Some would argue that we couldn’t ship as much if shippers were to follow that principle, but if there were to have a higher quantity of smaller vessels, shippers could still export the same amount of goods on a global scale, with the same amount of efficiency since these smaller crafts move faster because they are smaller and have less on them but there could be more moving at the same time. 

There are prevention solutions other than just decreasing the maximum size of exportation vessels. The Egyptian government could decide to dig the canal wider to ensure the safety of people and products. It would take time but also temporarily increase jobs because people and resources would be needed to perform the excavation.