Have officials finally figured out what caused the Suez Canal crisis?
2021 is full of crazy drama so far. First there was Gorilla Glue girl, then there was the guy who found shrimp tails in his Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And the latest crazy event was . . . a container ship stuck in a canal? Life is just full of surprises. New details are still coming out about the crisis, and some are suspecting that human error was involved. Here’s everything we know about what went down in the Suez Canal.
Could the Suez Canal crisis have been caused by humans?
According to new information released by Egyptian officials over the weekend, this recent Suez Canal crisis might not have been caused entirely by the elements. Though initial reports claimed that the 200,000-ton, 1,300 foot ship got stuck because of a sandstorm that lowered visibility, authorities are now saying that that might not be the whole story.
The BBC reported that the canal authority’s chairman, Osama Rabie, told reporters “there may have been technical or human errors. All of these factors will become apparent in the investigation.”
Why was this event such a big deal?
The blockage of the Suez Canal backed up at least 369 boats, which accounted for a whopping fifteen percent of world trade. Annually, around twelve percent of global trade passes through the canal, which connects the Mediterranean & Red Seas in the shortest link between Asia & Europe. Another route that connects the two, around the Cape of Good Hope, takes about two weeks longer.
Of course, this means a whole lot of money was lost during the time that the boat was stuck in the canal. According to Lloyd’s List, the jam held up around $9.6 billion in goods a day, or $400 million an hour.
For some countries, this was a matter of life & death. In Syria, for example, authorities took it upon themselves to ration fuel as their supplies were cut off by the catastrophic event. This didn’t help the dire situation in the country – which was already suffering from power cuts and massive inflation.
Navy spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich made a statement about how important the canal is to the military, explaining: “The Suez Canal is an essential maritime choke point, and the longer the passage is suspended, the more impact it will have to civilian and military transits.”
How did the boat get free?
The Suez Canal ended with a stroke of luck. On Sunday, a phenomenon occurred called a supermoon – a full moon that brings the moon closer to the earth than usual. This caused the tide to rise around eighteen inches above normal, which allowed engineers to straighten out the boat.
CNN meteorologist Judson Jones commented on the state of the moon on Sunday, explaining: “It is not uncommon for these tides to be a foot higher than other high tides during the year when the moon is further from the Earth. It is no doubt that these high tides were part of the strategy for dislodging such a massive ship.”
After the tides had risen substantially, tug boats spent a number of hours attempting to break the bow of the boat free after successfully dislodging its stern.
The shocking aftermath
Even though the boat is finally free, some people are still worried about the potential fallout. Shipping giant Maersk, for example, predicted the impact of the crisis might take months to reorganize. It will undoubtedly take a while for things to get back on schedule. On top of all that, people are now reevaluating the environmental ethics of having such large ships navigating the waters.
Do you think we can avoid another crisis in the Suez Canal in the future? Let us know in the comments.