After a spot of world-gazing, Verum chanced upon a quirky piece of news. It was almost too bizarre to be true! A giant container ship had wedged itself sideways into the Suez Canal. And one of the busiest trade routes in the world was blocked!
When she informed her friends and fellow Mysticals about this, Felix said, “Are you talking about the Suez Canal in Egypt? Is that blocked?”
Verum said, “Yes!”
Scorch had a doubt, “But why is the Suez Canal so important?”
Orak replied, “Well, it is an artificial waterway that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. That means it is the shortest route between Asia and Europe. That’s why about 12% of the global trade passes through the canal.”
Scorch replied, “Okay, and what exactly happened?”
Verum added, “A container ship called Ever Given had set sail for the Netherlands from China.
While it was passing through the Suez Canal, the 400-meter ship was knocked off its course by strong and unruly winds!”
“And then?” said Scorch, Orak, and Felix. Their eyes were wide with surprise.
“It ran aground and became lodged sideways. This happened on Tuesday, 23rd March. The Ever Given is ever stuck,” said Verum, shaking her head.
“Aren’t efforts being made to move it?” said Felix.
“Oh, yes. On Saturday, there was high tide. 14 tugboats pulled and pulled the ship. But it didn’t move an inch. Along with this, they have moved 20,000 tonnes of sand from around the Ever Given’s bow. The front part of the ship is called a bow. They hoped that removing the sand would help them move the ship,” said Verum.
“What if this doesn’t happen? How many ships are stuck on both sides of the Ever Given?” said Scorch.
“Don’t worry. The stern moved a little bit on Friday night. Soon, parts of the ship called the rudder and propeller will start working again. And on Sunday, more tugboats joined this unusual tug-of-war,” said Verum reassuringly.
She conceded, “But you’re right to be worried. There are more than 300 ships stuck on both sides of the blockage. While the authorities have reopened the canal’s older channel, the situation does need to be resolved soon.”