Pre-offloading work underway for Suez-stuck ship

Egyptian officials are preparing to unload cargo from a container ship wedged across the Suez Canal, in case efforts to refloat the vessel make little progress.

Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie told local media on Sunday that preparations to reduce the ship's weight are underway on the order of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Offloading will likely take time, further disrupting shipping through the narrow waterway that provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. More than 320 ships are waiting to pass through the canal.

Rabie said there was a 4-meter deviation in the bow and the stern following salvage work on Saturday night.

He expressed hope that the work will progress further with the help of large tugboats.

The vessel has been stuck since last Tuesday. It is owned by a Japanese company and operated by a Taiwanese firm.