This Week in Egypt: Week 12- 2021 ( March 22-28)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt’s Suez Canal is blocked by one of the largest container ships in the world
  • US Navy plans to send assessment team to Suez Canal to assist with stuck container ship, Egypt welcomes cooperation with US 
  • Three possible ways to unblock Suez Canal; lightening lodged ship is the worst
  • 24-hour dredging and tugging as Egypt’s president mulls removing Ever-Given containers
  • Egypt temporarily suspends navigation in Suez Canal, efforts to dislodge giant ship continue
  • At least 20 waiting ships contain cattle, sheep and other livestock, sparking fears about animal welfare
  • At least 32 people killed after two trains collide in Egypt

Main Headlines


  • Egypt aims for deal to produce Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines
  • Egypt welcomes Saudi ceasefire initiative to end crisis in Yemen



  • Efforts to free ship stuck in Suez Canal taking time due to vessel’s massive size
  • Suez Canal is blocked by traffic jam after massive container ship runs aground
  • Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia to hold GERD meeting in Abu Dhabi
  • GERD is an existential issue that affects the lives of millions of Egyptians, Sisi tells Burundi’s president


  • Shipping companies eye routes around Suez Canal jam
  • Egypt temporarily suspends navigation in Suez Canal, efforts to dislodge giant ship continue
  • Three possible ways to unblock Suez Canal; lightening lodged ship is the worst
  • Owner of cargo ship blocking waterway has apologized for the disruption to global trade
  • Egypt’s Sisi reiterates support to newly elected executive authority in Libya




Timeline of the Suez Crisis

Tuesday March 23

  • A giant ship container, 400 metres long, 59 metres wide, has lodged sideways in the Suez Canal. It sailed from China and was on its way to Rotterdam. The Ever Given, a Panama-flagged ship operated by Taiwan’s Evergreen and owned by Shoei Kisen KK, a Japanese company, became wedged sideways across the vital waterway.

Wednesday March 24

  • Dutch marine services company’s subsidiary Smit Salvage has been hired to help with the rescue and floating operation.
  • Owner and insurers of the container ships face claims totalling millions of dollars sources, and possible claims from the Suez Canal Authority for loss of revenue.
  • Brent crude rose by $1.75 (2.9 %) to $62.54 a barrel. 
  • Tugboats, dredgers and bulldozers are at work trying to free the enormous ship.

Thursday March 25

  • Dredging operations are underway at the site, which aim to remove 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of sand from around the vessel’s bow. 
  • A higher tide due on Sunday may help the rescue efforts
  • The Egyptian meteorological authority warns of a “disruption of marine navigation” due to an expected sea storm on Saturday and Sunday.
  • 9 tug boats, 2 dredgers and 4 diggers are at work trying to free the enormous ship
  • Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis, which is trying to free the ship, told the Dutch television programme Nieuwsuur, “We can’t exclude that it might take weeks, depending on the situation.”

Friday March 26

  • Nine giant tugboats attempt to re-direct the stranded giant Ever Given container ship began on Friday evening after the conclusion of dredging efforts.  
  • Dutch Smit Salvage added two tugs of 220 – 240 T bollard pull, which will arrive by 28 March to assist in the re-floating attempts.
  • Dredging operation, which began its operations on Thursday evening, has already removed around 17,000 cubic meters of sand from around the vessel’s bow.
  • The dredging operations target removing 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of sand from around the bow and reaching a depth level of 12 to 16 meters to allow the vessel to float.
  • Despite all efforts, the latest tugging efforts to dislodge the ship failed.

Saturday March 27

  • 14 tugboats are participating in the rescue mission. 321 vessels were waiting to enter or continue their transit through the canal.
  • Minor progress in dislodging the ship, as there had been some movement at the bow of the ship.
  • Dutch firm Boskalis, which owns emergency response team Smit Salvage hired to assist in the rescue operations, said the ship could be freed by the beginning of next week if heavier tugboats, dredging and a high tide succeed in moving the ship. 


  • The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has decided to postpone Sunday’s attempt to re-float Ever Given until sufficient tug power is in place.
  • Earlier, two attempts to free the giant Ever-Given ship container conducted on Sunday coinciding with high tides helped by a full moon Sunday night. The full moon offers a spring tide, or king tide, in which high tides are higher and the low tides are lower due to the effects of gravity during a straight-line alignment of the Earth, moon and the sun
  • Alternative arrangements are being put in place in case the operation fails.
  • Egypt’s Sisi has ordered preparations to lighten the load of the stranded ship.
  • Offloading the ship is currently the third option for dislodging the massive vessel. The first two options are towing the ship from both sides using tugs, while the second is digging out sand and mud from beneath the bow using dredgers.
  • Egypt sends three veterinary teams to examine cattle aboard ships stuck in Suez Canal.
  • Two additional tugs, the Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magno, reach Egypt’s Red Sea.
  • The tugboats will nudge the 400-meter-long (quarter-mile-long) Ever Given as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side.
  • Dredging operations reached 27,000 cubic meters of sand, with a depth of 18 meters.


On Suez Crisis

Other Topics:

From Twitter


About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
This entry was posted in Diary of Aak, Egypt and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s