Evergreen Line has confirmed that its 20,000 teu containership Ever Given was successfully refloated within the Suez Canal on March 29th. In order for the Canal to resume normal operation, the vessel is leaving the grounding site with the assistance of tugboats.
The chartered vessel will be repositioned to the Great Bitter Lake in the Canal for an inspection of its seaworthiness. The outcome of that inspection will determine whether the ship can resume its scheduled service. Once the inspection is finalised, decisions will be made regarding arrangements for cargo currently on board.
Evegreen said: ”We are most grateful to the Suez Canal Authority and all the concerned parties for their assistance and support through this difficult and unfortunate situation. We would also like to express our deepest appreciation to the crew who remain steadfast in their posts as well as the salvage experts and dredging team for their professionalism and relentless efforts over the past 6 days toward securing this outcome.”
Evergreen will work with the shipowner to deal with subsequent matters after the shipowner and other concerned parties complete investigation reports into the incident. Ever Given is currently leased by Evergreen Marine under a time charter agreement and is deployed on a Far East-Europe service route.
Admiral Osama Rabie, Chairman and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said the refloating was the result of successful push and tow manoeuvres which led to the restoration of 80% of the vessel’s direction, with the stern 102 m away from the bank of the Canal instead of 4 m prior to the refloating. Admiral Rabie reassured the international shipping community that full navigation would be resumed as soon as possible.
The effort to free the vessel was very much a multi-national collaborative one. Global tug operator Svitzer contributed two tugs and four full crews operating in shifts. The company’s Port Said 1 and Port Said 2 were amongst a total of 13 tugs assisting in the salvage operation, alongside two dredgers.
For Svitzer, work began on the morning of Tuesday 23rd March, when its tugs were called to the location of the grounded boxship, some 10 hours of steaming from the company’s base in Port Said. As soon as the tugs arrived on location, Svitzer engaged with the salvage operation and were deployed at the aft port side, where they pushed to free the vessel for around four hours.
Commenting on the support provided by the organisation, Kasper Nilaus, CEO, Svitzer said: “After six challenging and nerve-wracking days, and with the eyes of the world on all of us, we are extraordinarily proud of the relentless work that our crews onboard Port Said 1 and 2 have done to expedite the refloating of the Ever Given. The outstanding project management and orchestration of the SCA has been instrumental to solving this situation in a quick and safe fashion.”
Boskalis also contributed to the efforts to free the stricken containership. Peter Berdowski, CEO, commented: “Shortly following the grounding of the Ever Given we were requested through SMIT Salvage to provide assistance with the salvage operation. The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented and the result is a true display of our unique capabilities as a dredging and marine services provider.” For the refloating of the container vessel approximately 30,000 m3 of sand was dredged to help free the vessel.