The CEO of the Dutch company that helped re-float the Ever Given in the Suez Canal said it’s too soon to celebrate, predicting that the last stages will be the most difficult.
Peter Berdowski, CEO of dredging specialists Boskalis, has been working with Egyptian authorities to free the massive container ship that got stuck almost a week ago.
For six days, the ship has blocked one of the world’s most crucial maritime passages, causing havoc for at some 400 ships waiting to pass through, according to Lloyd’s List.
So the news early Monday that the Ever Given had been re-floated, and its stern freed, was greeted with relief from mariners and a victory lap by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
President @alSisiofficial: Egyptians have ended the crisis of aground vessel EVER GIVEN despite the enormous technical complexity that surrounded the process.#Egypt #Suez #SuezCanal #EVERGIVEN #Evergreen #BreakingNews|#قناة_السويس #السفينة_الجائحة #عاجل pic.twitter.com/MobJS6Muuz
— Egypt Today Magazine (@EgyptTodayMag) March 29, 2021
As of 11.30 a.m. local time, new maneuvers were under way to continue the progress, according to a statement from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
Lt. Commander Osama Rabie, chair of the SCA, said that “in all certainty work will be complete very soon.”
But Berdowski warned Monday that there are more struggles ahead. “Don’t cheer too soon,” he told Dutch radio station NPO Radio 1, according to the Associated Press (AP).
While the stern of the ship is free, its bow is still stuck fast in the canal’s clay sand banks, he said Monday.
“The good news is that the stern is free but we saw that as the simplest part of the job,” the AP reported him as saying.
“But she is still stuck in the mud,” he said, according to Reuters.
A spokesperson for the company said there is a 70% chance the ship would come free on Monday, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“If we don’t succeed, we will also dredge underneath the ship. So far, this has only been done on the sides,” the paper reported the spokesperson as saying.
CNN producer Mick Krever tweeted translated excerpts of the interview, in which Berdowski said that lightering the vessel — taking the cargo off — might still prove necessary.
Without the stern fixed in one place to provide leverage, the work to move the bow will be harder, Krever quoted Berdowski as saying. The bow is still stuck “rock solid,” he added.
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