Suez Canal ship ‘set free and on the move’ after blocking world trade for 6 days

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The ship stranded in the Suez Canal has been "set free and is now on the move", a service firm has said.

The huge Ever Given container has been blocking world trade for six days, costing billions of pounds per day. It has now been completely refloated and is on the move again.

Peter Berdowski, boss of the salvage firm Boskalis who were tasked with shifting the ship, praised the "unprecedented" pressure his team had been working under.

It had been feared the Ever Given would be stuck on the banks of the canal for weeks.

Mr Berdowski said: "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 3.05pm local time (2.05pm UK time), thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again.

"I’m extremely proud of the outstanding job done by the team on site as well as the many SMIT Salvage and Boskalis colleagues back home to complete this challenging operation under the watchful eye of the world.

"The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented."

To refloat the hulking 224,000-ton vessel, approximately 30,000 cubic meters of sand was dredged and a total of eleven harbour tugs and two powerful seagoing tugs were deployed.

Egyptian TV footage showed the ship aligned in a straight position along the canal.

The Ever Given held up almost 400 ships in the Suez Canal, holding up an estimated £7 billion worth of goods every day.

Economists believe the stranding's impact on global trade will not be felt for a few weeks, amid fears it will have a knock-on effect on the UK in the form of price hikes and product shortages.

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Suez Canal Authority boss Osama Rabie says it could take "three and a half days to clear the backlog".

The canal, which separates Africa from the Middle East and Asia, is one of the busiest trade routes in the world with about 12% of total global trade passing through it.

It provides the shortest link between the region and Europe. An alternative route, around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, can take two weeks longer for ships to navigate.

The skyscraper-sized Ever Given became stuck in the canal last Tuesday.

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