How did a ship get stuck in the Suez Canal, and what happened afterward?

Peter Berdowski, CEO of the Dutch firm behind freeing the Ever Given from the Suez Canal on March 29, said dislodging the ship came down to a matter of physics. (Video: Reuters)

For nearly a week, one of the world’s key shipping canals was blocked by one of the largest ships at sea, with billions of dollars in trade, from crude oil to live animals, delayed amid frantic efforts to refloat it.

The vessel — the 200,000-ton Japanese-owned Ever Given cargo ship — was freed Monday morning after a complicated rescue mission that drew attention from around the world as authorities and workers scrambled to unclog the crucial waterway. Since being refloated, the ship has been anchored midway through the canal, in the Great Bitter Lake.

On Wednesday, Egypt launched an investigation into the incident, Sayed Sheaysha, a Suez Canal Authority adviser, told the BBC. Experts boarded the ship to collect information about the crew’s actions and preparedness.

Giant ship blocking Suez Canal is freed; incident on key trade route cost the global economy billions of dollars

With about 400 ships backlogged as of Monday, Egyptian authorities doubled the number of ships cleared to pass through the canal a day, the Wall Street Journal reported, potentially putting further pressure on the crews of vessels and pilots assigned to guide them.

Here’s what happened.

The Ever Given container ship became stuck in the canal at 5:40 a.m. UTC on March 23

Detail

Cairo

EGYPT

The vessel is 1,312 feet long, exactly the maximum length permitted in the canal

The vessel blockage has caused a jam of dozens of ships waiting at both ends of the canal

Suez Canal

Suez

984 feet

3,000 FEET

Source: Planet Labs Inc.

JÚLIA LEDUR/THE WASHINGTON POST

The Ever Given container ship became stuck in the canal at 5:40 a.m. UTC on March 23

Detail

Cairo

EGYPT

The vessel is 1,312 feet long, exactly the maximum length permitted in the canal

Suez Canal

984 feet

The vessel blockage has caused a jam of dozens of ships waiting at both ends of the canal

Suez

3,000 FEET

Source: Planet Labs Inc.

JÚLIA LEDUR/THE WASHINGTON POST

Detail

The Ever Given container ship became stuck in the canal at 5:40 a.m. UTC on March 23

Cairo

EGYPT

The vessel is 1,312 feet long, exactly the maximum length permitted in the canal

984 feet

Suez Canal

Suez

The vessel blockage has caused a jam of dozens of ships waiting at both ends of the canal

3,000 FEET

Source: Planet Labs Inc.

JÚLIA LEDUR/THE WASHINGTON POST

Detail

Cairo

The Ever Given container ship became stuck in the canal at 5:40 a.m. UTC on March 23

EGYPT

The vessel is 1,312 feet long, exactly the maximum length permitted in the canal

984 feet

Suez Canal

Suez

The vessel blockage has caused a jam of dozens of ships waiting at both ends of the canal

3,000 FEET

Source: Planet Labs Inc.

JÚLIA LEDUR/THE WASHINGTON POST

Detail

Cairo

The Ever Given container ship became stuck in the canal at 5:40 a.m. UTC on March 23

EGYPT

The vessel is 1,312 feet long, exactly the maximum length permitted in the canal

984 feet

Suez Canal

Suez

The vessel blockage has caused a jam of dozens of ships waiting at both ends of the canal

3,000 FEET

Detail

Cairo

The Ever Given container ship became stuck in the canal at 5:40 a.m. UTC on March 23

EGYPT

The vessel is 1,312 feet long, exactly the maximum length permitted in the canal

984 feet

Suez Canal

Suez

The vessel blockage has caused a jam of dozens of ships waiting at both ends of the canal

3,000 FEET

JÚLIA LEDUR/THE WASHINGTON POST

Source: Planet Labs Inc.

The Suez Canal, a chokepoint of history

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