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- BBC News
Efforts to free a container ship diagonally stranded in the Suez Canal have paid off.
The 400-meter-long Ever Given was stuck in mud and sand at the southern end of the canal since Tuesday.
A fleet of tugs, using cable or standing directly with the struggling ship, worked for several days to evacuate it.
The ship tracking software now shows that the ship has left from both sides and is heading north along the canal.
As the tugs were cleaned to move the ship during the week, dredges were used to remove mud and sand from the bow and stern of the ship.
This dredge is a familiar sight on the Suez Canal, said marine surveyor Sal Mercogliano. It is used to stretch the waterway continuously to keep it navigable.
“Large machines submerge in water and essentially tear the soil from the bottom, which can then be placed on the ground.”
Bernhard Schulte Shipman (BSM), the company that manages the ship’s operations, said an additional special “suction dredge” has been brought in, capable of moving 2,000 cubic meters of material per hour.
A combination of tugs and dredging equipment dislodged the vessel.
If they failed, there would have been a third option – taking out the cargo and fuel from the boat.
This would require a delicate and lengthy operation.
Refueling from the ship’s tanks could have helped, but it was unlikely to be sufficient without further load-lighting measures.
A ship can take up to a 20,000-foot container the size of an aircraft and the crane removal operation would have been very difficult.
In addition to the difficulties of suitable cranes being close to the ship, this process can cause damage to the ship and even unbalance.
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