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Officials say cargo ship on the move again after almost a week stuck in Suez Canal

Suez, Egypt — The colossal container ship that spent almost a week wedged across the Suez Canal was "successfully refloated" and on the move again on Monday, according to Egypt's canal authority and an agency that helps run the shipping channel. Ships that were stuck in a logjam were moving again through the critical waterway.

A statement posted on Monday morning to the Egyptian government's Suez Canal Authority (SCA), attributed to chairman and director Admiral Osama Rabie, said the MV Ever Given "has been successfully refloated. This was the result of successful push and tow maneuvers which led to the restoration of 80% of the vessel's direction."

Ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal
The cargo ship MV Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is seen after it was fully refloated in the Suez Canal, Egypt, March 29, 2021. Suez Canal Authority

High tide later on Monday morning appeared to help crews move the hulking ship back into the center of the canal, and a statement posted online by Leth Agencies, which provides myriad services for the canal in partnership with the SCA, said later that the Ever Given had been "safely escorted to Great Bitter Lake," a holding lake in the middle of the canal.

Evergreen Marine Corp., a Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship, said it would be inspected.

Navigation in the canal resumed at 6 p.m. local time (noon ET) said Lieutenant General Osama Rabei, the head of the SCA, adding that the first ships that were moving carried livestock. From the city of Suez, ships stacked with containers could be seen exiting the canal into the Red Sea.

At least 113 of over 420 vessels that had waited for Ever Given to be freed are expected to cross the canal by Tuesday morning, Rabei added at a news conference.

As CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports, the backup caused significant disruption.

"Even when it starts to flow again there's going to be some days to clear that backlog, so you got those knock on effects all the way through the supply chain," said Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping. "You've got to remember that ships carry just about everything from medical equipment to food to grain to fuel to all the other things in between."  

Global marine services provider Inchcape Shipping was the first to say the Ever Given had been freed early on Monday morning. Inchcape posted a tweet that included a diagram appearing to show the ship partially straightened.

Suez Canal blockage felt across the world as trade comes to a pause 03:15

Nearly a week ago, the skyscraper-sized Ever Given got stuck sideways in the crucial waterway, creating a massive traffic jam. The obstruction was holding up $9 billion each day in global trade and straining supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of vessels were taking the alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa's southern tip, adding around two weeks to journeys and threatening delivery delays.

The freeing of the vessel came after intensive efforts to push and pull the vessel with 10 tugboats when the full moon brought spring tide, Leth Agencies said, raising the canal's water level and hopes for a breakthrough.

Egypt Suez Canal
The MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway, is seen on March 26, 2021. Mohamed Elshahed/AP

Overnight, several dredgers had toiled to vacuum up 27,000 cubic meters of sand and mud around the ship. Another powerful tugboat, Carlo Magno, raced to the scene to join the efforts.

Although the vessel was vulnerable to damage, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the company that owns the Ever Given, dismissed concerns on Monday, saying that the ship's engine was functional and it could pursue its trip normally when freed.

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