How the Suez Canal got Clogged

The Suez Canal Was Clogged On March 23rd, 2021 So How Did It Happen?


Source: Crown Copyright

“HMS Monmouth Passing Under the Suez Canal Bridge at Al Qantara, Egypt” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

What Happened?

The Ever Given is a Golden class container ship and is the 13th largest class in the world. It’s about 59 feet wide and almost 400 meters long, and it can carry roughly 20000 TEU or 20124 standard 20ft ISO containers making it one of the biggest ships in the world. It was on a route that picked up containers from Asian ports and transported them to European ports.

On March the 23rd, 2021, the Ever Given arrived at the south side of the Suez Canal. It waited until it was allowed in a northbound convey, but unfortunately, there was a sand storm at that time. As the Ever Given sailed through the narrow Suez Canal, the winds pushed on her 20,000 square meters of surface area to the left and exacted 270 tons of force on Ever Given to the right bank. As the Ever Given traveled up the canal, the low visibility of the sandstorm combined with the high winds and the enormous size of the Ever Given had the Ever Given keep buffeting left and right. The buffeting caused the Ever Given to turn too hard to the left side and made a high-pressure zone between the bow and canal because the bow compressed the water between the canal and itself. The high pressure also sucked in water from the stern and canal bank area, making a low-pressure zone. The low-pressure zone pulled in the stern to the bank while the high-pressure zone pushed the bow away, making the whole ship turn clockwise and the bow and stern crash into the sides of the canal, clogging the Suez Canal.

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