It brings me immense pleasure — joy, even — to report that the Ever Given is back in the saddle and once again making her way through the Suez Canal. Incredible news, considering that last time she attempted this, she became lodged in the throat of global commerce for nearly a week. But as they say, you can’t keep a good woman down, and the Ever Given is not going to let one bad experience ruin her forever. Though she remains the same big boat (1,300 feet long!) you remember and love, she is, as I type this, cruising through the canal with just two tugs to chaperone her.
That’s a marked decrease in tugs compared to late March, when a strong wind caught the sail-like container wall stacked on the Ever Given’s deck and gusted her sideways. Her length diagonally blocked the Suez for a captivating six days, in which the world economy fell to its knees, traffic bottlenecking at either end of the canal. In an effort to avoid another toilet-paper shortage, many desperate shippers rerouted their vessels around South Africa’s ruinous “Graveyard of Ships” (the misleadingly named Cape of Good Hope) while the dredgers did their thing. Ultimately, it took something like 13 tugboats, a bunch of salvage teams, and the moon to unstick the stuck boat.
But the Ever Given’s struggle continued. Egypt, for reasons I think are obvious — the Ever Given is an icon; she also wound up costing the canal authority maybe as much as $1 billion? — did not want to return the ship to her owners, at least until they’d settled the tab. The Ever Given only made it back to the Netherlands in late July, and already, she is en route to Singapore for repairs. She’s only partially loaded with cargo this time, but still … brave.