Final pull by offshore tugboats unblocks Suez Canal
It took a high tide and two powerful offshore tugboats to pull container vessel Ever Given afloat again. The 400 m long megaship got stuck in the Suez Canal and blocked the important waterway for almost a week.
Bow in sticky clay
With great pride Dutch dredging company Royal Boskalis announced the successful salvage operation on 29 March. Under the watchful eye of the whole world, the salvage team managed to free the rear end of the huge 224,000-ton container vessel.
However, the stern was still stuck in sticky clay on the bank of the canal making the vessel to hang over. But not for long.
Enormous time pressure
CEO Peter Berdowski at Boskalis acknowledged the whole salvage team that included experts from Smit Tak, the salvage division of Boskalis, as well as the Suez Canal Authorities.
‘Shortly following the grounding of the Ever Given we were requested through SMIT Salvage to provide assistance with the salvage operation’, said Berdowsky. ‘I am excited to announce that our team of experts, working in close collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority, successfully refloated the Ever Given on 29 March at 15:05 hrs local time, thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again. I’m extremely proud of the outstanding job done by the team under the watchful eye of the world. The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented .’
Sand and clay removals
Initial attempts to get de Ever Given refloated again involving less powerful harbour tugboats, proved unsuccessful. With the assistance of the Suez Canal Authorities (SCA) a dredging vessel removed sand from underneath the Ever Given. Meanwhile, cranes on the embankment removed clay from the bank where the bow had ploughed in.
These actions were successful and freed the rear end of the container vessel. But it took the two powerfull seaging tug boats Alp Guard and Carlo Magna to pull out the bow of the megaship and complete the salvage mission.