The 400m-long (1,300ft), 200,00-tonne vessel belonging to Shoei Kisen Kaisha, and operated by Taiwanese transport company Evergreen Marine but called Ever Given, that is currently wedged diagonally across the waterway, will cost its owner and insurers claims totalling millions of dollars for delays and extra costs accrued by other companies.
Toshiaki Fujiwara, an official at Shoei Kisen Kaisha, told AFP news agency that the ship had an insurance policy, but that he was unaware of the details or any costs involved at this stage. “It’s just the beginning,” he said.
Global crude oil prices were up more than 6% on Wednesday after traffic through the canal was suspended, though they fell slightly on Thursday.
A flotilla of eight tug boats resumed efforts to move the Ever Given at high tide on Thursday morning after stopping overnight, Egyptian officials said.
Dredgers and diggers have also been clearing sand and mud away from the bow of the vessel, which is sitting on the side of the canal.
The head of a Netherlands-based salvage company assisting the operation warned that that it could take weeks to dislodge the boat and that containers might have to be lifted off to lighten its load.
“We can’t exclude it might take weeks, depending on the situation,” Peter Berdowski, the CEO of Boskalis, told the Dutch TV station NPO.
“It is an enormous beached whale. It’s an enormous weight on the sand,” he added. “We might have to work with a combination of reducing the weight by removing containers, oil and water from the ship, tug boats and dredging of sand.”
At least 150 ships are now waiting to pass through the vital maritime route. About 12% of global trade passes through the Suez canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia ad Europe.
An alternative route, around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, can take two weeks longer.