Things are finally back to normal at the Suez Canal. The backlog of ships that had been stranded by the massive container ship that blocked the Suez Canal has finally been cleared, Egyptian officials said Saturday. A total of 422 ships have passed through the Suez Canal in the five days since the massive 1,312-foot Ever Given ship was dislodged from the canal after it blocked traffic in one of the world’s busiest waterways. The massive ship ran aground on March 23 and was freed six days later.
The final 61 ships that had been stuck in the maritime traffic jam finally made it through the canal on Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority said. Overall, 85 ships were expected to pass the canal on Saturday, illustrating how things are slowly starting to get back to normal. “All waiting ships crossed the shipping course today,” said Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority.
The Suez Canal Authority has launched an investigation to figure out exactly what caused the Panama-flagged container ship to run aground. “The investigation is going well and will take two more days, then we will announce the results,” Rabie said on Friday.
The Egyptian government has already said it will seek some $1 billion in compensation for the blockage. Some experts have warned that these types of incidents could become more common as ships are getting bigger. “The average size of most vessels has increased exponentially over the last 15 years. The ability to salvage these bigger ships has not,” said Peter Townsend, a marine insurance industry veteran.