Mar 31, 2021

The ‘Ever Given’ is Finally Free Thanks to a Full Moon and Spring Tides

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After 6 harrowing and extremely costly days, ‘Ever Given’—the behemoth container ship, is finally free and the Suez Canal is once again open for business.

Horns were blasted in celebration of the freed ship that had ground global trade to a halt, costing some $59 billion in trade loss in the process.


In addition to the salvage teams of dredgers, diggers, and tugboats that have been working around the clock for 6 straight days; the rescue effort owes a giant salute to mother nature, as a full moon and exceptionally high tide played a major role in helping ‘Ever Given’ regain its buoyancy.



According to the New York Times:

Salvage crews had worked around a schedule largely dictated by the tides: working to make progress during the six hours it would take for the water to go from low point to high and then back again.
With a full moon on Sunday, the following 24 hours had offered the best window to work, with a few extra inches of tidal flow providing a vital assist for their efforts.



Continued from the New York Times:

Tides are the regular rise and fall of the sea surface caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun and their position relative to the earth. When the sun and moon are in alignment — as was the case with the full moon on Sunday — their combined gravitational pull results in exceptionally high tides, known as Spring Tides.
That is the case at the moment in the Suez, with water levels rising some 18 inches above normal. High tides occur 12 hours and 25 minutes apart, according to NOAA. It takes six hours and 12.5 minutes for the water at the shore to go from high to low, or from low to high. This is the window for salvage crews to free the Ever Given.




Now that ‘Ever Given’ has resumed its course, the backlog of ~400 vessels that were stuck waiting for the canal to reopen can also resume their journeys. It has been estimated to take an additional 3.5 days at minimum just to clear the traffic jam that has been caused. However, the impact on various supply chains is expected to last several months.

The canal, which separates Africa from the Middle East and Asia, is one of the busiest trade routes in the world with about 12% of total global trade moving through it. It provides the shortest link between Asia and Europe. [source]




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