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Sandstorm, winds blamed for container ship fiasco in Suez Canal

20,000-TEU Ever Given ran aground early Tuesday

Container ship Ever Given stuck in Suez Canal. (Photo: Suez Canal Authority)

Updated Aril 2, 2021 at 2 p.m. ET.

Officials say a sandstorm and high winds caused the ultra large container ship Ever Given to run aground Tuesday morning, blocking the Suez Canal.

Related: Evergreen container ship blocks Suez Canal traffic

Evergreen Marine, the Taiwanese transportation company that built and operates the Ever Given, said the ship was “suspected of being hit by a sudden strong wind, causing the hull to deviate … and accidentally hit the bottom and run aground.”

However, it was likely blowing sand caused by the winds that caused the accident. The Suez Canal Authority said in a statement Wednesday that 46-mph (40-knot) winds and a sandstorm caused low visibility and poor navigation. It happened when the ship was en route from Yantian, China, to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Related: US ports, shippers face major fallout from Suez Canal chaos

The Suez Canal, a major gateway for global ocean freight, is the shortest water route between Asia and Europe. Disruptions from the Evergreen incident could cause as much as $10 billion in losses each day, according to some experts.

Marine traffic through the Suez Canal remained blocked Friday after several attempts to dislodge the ship had failed. Dozens of ships were waiting at the north and south entrances. However, efforts to dislodge the Ever Given were picking up. While one of the teams in charge of the operation said it could take weeks, an Egyptian official gave a more optimistic timetable.

Related: Suez Canal crisis: Here are the cargoes in the crossfire

Mohab Mamish, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s adviser on seaports and the former chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, told the AFP news agency Thursday that navigation through the canal “will resume again within 48-72 hours, maximum.” If accomplished, this could have ships moving again over the weekend.

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  1. Richard

    You know that, based on the size of the ship and the wall of containers stacked on the deck, 46 mph wind would apply about 1.3 million pounds of sideways force on that ship…pretty hard to control that in a tight space.

  2. Tom Whittemore

    what direction was the wind blowing from when the ship first deviated from it’s course? did an east wind gust blow it to port, or did a lull in a west wind let the ship veer to the port? after witch it bounced back to starboard and got wedged.

  3. samir sardana

    An Indian cannot be on a ship ! Even to clean toilets ! Indians have an expertise in cleaning toilets, all over the world.

    What is the USP of the ship ? It is the largest container ship in the world,with 25 crew ! A;LL THE CREW ARE INDIAN !

    100% CREW = 100% DISASTER ! dindooohindoo

    EVEN THE PILOT – navigating the Ship was an INDIAN ! How can the Egyptians allow an Indian to be a Pilot !

    You cannot put a monkey on a ship – even with bananas ! 1 monkey is OK for cleaning toilets ! BUT 25 monkeys – all 100% !

    As per Suez Rules, responsibility for a Suez Disaster in the Canal is SOLELY of the Master of the Ship ! EVERY CONTAINER WILL NEED TO BE REMOVED and the Suez has no crane to do it. Cranes will take 10-14 days to come.

    No use emptying the ballast and bunker. No need to pray for the high tides.

    Have to empty ALL containers. If strong wings can bang the bow of a 200000 ship into a beach, it is a proxy excuse for human disaster ! This is assuming that all the ship vitals are intact,after a smash of the bow into the beach at 9 knots !

    At this instant ,if the Persians heat the Persian Gulf,the US Navy Navy will take 2 weeks to reach their miniions !

    Indians and Ships do NOT jive – as the disaster of the Indian Navy has shown

    Case 1 – October 2017: INS Kadmatt (P29), while stern maneuvering to the dock, collided by the stern with Russian ship Irytsh in Vladivostok on 19 October

    Case 2 – November 2015: INS Kochi, a Kolkata-class destroyer, conducted BrahMos missile test firings whilst the airspace remained open to traffic

    Case 3 – January 2014: INS Betwa, a Brahmaputra-class guided missile frigate, ran aground and collided with an unidentified object

    Case 4 – February 2014: On 26 February, INS Sindhuratna, a Kilo-class submarine, had a fire detected on board when trials were being conducted which resulted in smoke leading to suffocation and death of two officers.

    Case 5 – A Nuke Sub blows up in Dry Dock in August 2013 ( all sailors killed

    Case 6 – Disaster with INS Arihant in March 2017 (


    December 2016: Two sailors died and 14 others were injured when INS Betwa tipped over and crashed on its side while it was undocking in Mumbai.NO WORTHY NATION HAS A SHIP,WHICH TIPPLES OVER IN DRY DOCK


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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.