No prospect in sight for end to Suez blockage

Egyptian authorities say work is underway to free a stranded container ship that is blocking the Suez Canal, but stopped short of stating when passage will resume.

On Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority held its first news conference since the Ever Given got stuck in the canal four days earlier.

The giant ship is owned by Shoei Kisen in the western Japanese prefecture of Ehime and operated by a Taiwanese company.

The canal authority said workers are trying to refloat the vessel by using dredges at low tide and pulling it with tugboats at high tide.

The head of the canal authority, Osama Rabie, said the third day of work produced positive results, and the container ship moved 0.4 degrees to the south.

He expressed his intention to continue the current approach for the time being.

But he did not clearly state when the work will be finished. He said that if the current approach comes to a standstill, the authority might consider unloading cargo containers to reduce the weight of the ship.

Rabie noted that strong wind was not the only factor that caused the ship to get wedged and did not rule out technical or human errors. He added that further investigations will reveal what caused the incident.

The authorities say 321 ships are waiting for passage in and around the canal. It is feared that the impact on logistics will become serious.