SMIT and Boskalis free the Ever Given

By Leila Steed30 March 2021

The Ever Given container ship is towed safely out of the Suez Canal in Egypt The Ever Given container ship is towed safely out of the Suez Canal in Egypt.

SMIT Salvage and Boskalis have completed the mammoth task of freeing the Ever Given container ship that had been blocking the Suez Canal in Egypt for almost week.

The 400 metre long vessel was heading to the Netherlands when high winds pushed it off course, causing it to run aground.  Wedged diagonally across the artificial waterway, the stuck Ever Given prevented other cargo ships from using the canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

Specialist firm SMIT, which provides emergency response, salvage and wreck removal services, and its sister company Boskalis were brought in to remove the 224,000-tonne container ship, after it ran aground on the banks of the canal on Monday 23 March, 2021.

Peter Berdowski, CEO Boskalis, said, “Shortly following the grounding of the Ever Given we were requested through SMIT Salvage to provide assistance with the salvage operation. I am excited to announce that our team of experts, working in close collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority, successfully refloated the Ever Given on 29 March at 15:05 hrs local time, thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again.”

The companies, which are both part of the Royal Boskalis Westminster group, were instructed to remove vessel by the Suez Canal Company, owner of the waterway.

The emergency operation involved eleven harbour tugs and the “powerful” Alp Guard and Carlo Magna seafaring tugs. Collectively they removed 30,000 cubic metres of mud and sand to help free the Ever Given from where it had run aground.

Berdowski said, “I’m extremely proud of the outstanding job done by the team on site as well as the many SMIT Salvage and Boskalis colleagues back home to complete this challenging operation under the watchful eye of the world.

“The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented and the result is a true display of our unique capabilities as a dredging and marine services provider.”

According to reports, the incident caused a maritime traffic jam that comprised roughly 300 trade vessels from the world.

While the Suez Canal Company and trade authorities are working to clear the backlog of ships waiting to use the sea passage, the Ever Given has been towed out of the canal to a safe site for further inspection.

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