Suez Canal Authority says 321 ships held up

Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie said he hoped it would not be necessary to resort to removing some of the 18,300 containers from the ship to lighten its load, but that strong tides and winds were complicating efforts to free it.

He added that the cause of the incident is still under investigation.

Rabie also confirmed that there are 321 ships are queuing to use the waterway and the authorities are providing necessities that the crews ask for.

The 400-metre (430-yard) long Ever Given became wedged diagonally across a southern section of the canal amid high winds early on Tuesday (March 23), disrupting global shipping by blocking one of the world's busiest waterways.

About 15% of world shipping traffic transits the canal, and hundreds of vessels are waiting to pass through the waterway once the blockage has been cleared.

Video Transcript

[BACKGROUND NOISE]

OSAMA RABIE: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

INTERPRETER: As I said last night, we had some success. As long as there is a success, we are working with the same scenario that works and keep with it. After that, there will be other scenarios. That we'll show later.

OSAMA RABIE: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

INTERPRETER: I honestly cannot say when exactly we will finish. Maybe today, God willing, maybe tomorrow. It depends on the situation. It depends on how the ship responds.

OSAMA RABIE: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

INTERPRETER: When dealing with a ship of this size, its behavior is unknown with the dredges. We don't know how it will respond to the pulling. Will it respond? Yesterday, it was very responsive. I'm telling you we were very optimistic that we would finish yesterday. God did not will that.

OSAMA RABIE: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

OSAMA RABIE: If this scenario doesn't work, we will go to the next scenario, which is to lighten the weight, as agreed. We won't wait for the scenario to not work. We are thinking of the next one and are prepared to deploy it, in order to overcome this big crisis.

OSAMA RABIE: [SPEAKING ARABIC]