A 1,312-foot-long containership has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Tuesday evening and may block 10 percent of worldwide shipping traffic for days to come.
The Ever Given containership, which was on its way from China to the Netherlands, lost control in a powerful sandstorm, impaled its bulbous bow on one side of the channel and jackknifed its stern into the opposite bank, blocking all traffic.
Within 24 hours of the incident more than 100 ships were stuck at the two ends of the canal waiting for the Ever Given to be freed.
The 120-mile-long Suez Canal is the second most heavily trafficked passage in the world after the Panama Canal. It provides a massive shortcut between the Mediterranean and Red Seas, allowing vessels to bypass the African continent when sailing between Europe and Asia.
In the days to come, oil tankers will start piling up at the southern end of the canal, potentially affecting oil prices and supplies. The Suez Canal is a key artery for oil delivery from the oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf to Europe and North America.
As of Wednesday, the ship had been partially refloated, but there was no word on when the canal would be cleared for traffic. A few days of delay would not have an enormous impact on world markets, but a longer delay could affect deliveries and pricing.