Saturday, June 25

How a Full Moon and a ‘Huge Crowbar’ Helped Free Ever Given from the Suez Canal | Suez Canal

IIn the end, the difference was made by two high-powered tugs and an even greater force: a tide that rose to its highest point in months with a full moon, then ebbed powerfully, helping to free Ever Given.

The week-long operation on the Suez Canal had struggled to progress and looked like it could drag on for weeks until Sunday, when nature and logistics lined up, according to the head of the Dutch salvage unit that helped run the operation. , who has given the most comprehensive account of the mission so far to the Dutch media.

Over five long days and nights, the team of Egyptian, Dutch and Japanese workers dredged huge amounts of sand and attempted to remove the ship using almost a dozen ordinary tugs.

“[But] the real work could only begin once the two powerful tugs arrived, ”said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, told NPO Radio 1. “We always thought that what happened up to that point would help a little bit, but it wouldn’t be enough.”

Few tugs of this type were stationed nearby (the upper Red Sea is usually a quiet environment) and, with the channel blocked, they had to come from the far south, further narrowing the options available.

The first, the Alp Guard, capable of hauling 3,326 deadweight tonnes, arrived on Sunday morning. Dredging crews, including those of the Egyptian ship Mashhour, helped move 30,000 cubic meters of sand over the past week. In the early hours of Monday morning, there was optimism on the banks of the canal, even among Boskalis’s team of 15 people at the scene.

Also Read  Harry Kane and Son Heung-min score and Tottenham beat Leeds to go third | Premier league
Tugboats near the Ever Given after it was re-floated
Tugboats near the Ever Given after it was re-floated. Photo: Suez Canal Authority / EPA

“I was 70% sure it would happen [on Monday], because it had started to change a little [on Sunday]Berdowski said. “Things were starting to move.”

By dawn, the stern of the ship, stuck for almost a week about 4 meters from the coast, had been dragged 120 meters into the canal, causing cheers and shouts of “God is great.”

The floating stern provided the salvage team with “a massive 400m lever” to help lift the forward part of the boat that was still embedded in the clay of the banks, Berdowski told the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad.

On Monday morning, a second powerful tug, the Carlo Magno, the Italian name for the Frankish king Charlemagne, came into view and prepared for a charge at noon to free the bow.

Working with their Egyptian colleagues, the Dutch consultants were doing the numbers. “Boskalis’s role was basically to do the math, the sums,” Berdowski said. “So when the stern was released [on Monday] In the morning, we calculated that we should let 2,000 tons of ballast water enter the stern of the ship, to push the stern down and lift the bow.

“That’s the kind of calculation work that we do, we calculate the exact position where we need to put the tugs, in what precise direction they should be pulling, at what time, so we can make the most of the tide, that kind of thing. “

The spring high tide rose at noon and fell sharply for the next several hours, acting as an invisible hand pushing the upstream end of the ship as the flotilla of tugs pulled downstream.

“The force of the tide helped us tremendously,” Berdowski said. “You are dealing with a force that is actually greater than the two marine tugs.”

He told the newspaper: “Of course the soil must also cooperate. There were reports that there might be a stone underneath, but it turned out not to be the case. “

At around 3 p.m. on Monday, the ship’s bow was refloated, ending what could have become a week-long operation that cost world trade between $ 6 billion and $ 10 billion a day.

“We didn’t have to remove any more sand,” Berdowski said. “That was plan B, we were ready for that and for plan C, which was to start removing the containers. But we hoped plan A would work and … it worked. “

The success of the mission has been widely celebrated in Egypt, including by the crew of the Mashhour.

“We had to wait five days until we had the kind of boats that were capable of doing the job,” Berdowski said. “We knew we couldn’t do much before then … and once they got here, we were done in one day.”

Having contributed to the resumption of more than a tenth of world trade, Boskalis’ team had no plans to stay in Egypt, scheduled to fly Monday. The Ever Given was only the most prominent and valuable ship to run into trouble last week. “Another five jobs await us,” Boskalis said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.