Suez still stuck, fears for animals stranded on ships – The fifth day of blockade in the Suez Canal did not bring the expected turning point. The container ship Ever Given it is still stranded, in a diagonal position, obstructing the passage at 321 navi which, on both outlets of the Egyptian artificial strait, are still forced to wait their turn. The president of the Authority that manages the Canal (Sca), Osama Rabie, admitted that it is not yet possible to indicate a date for the resumption of traffic.

Animals in danger

Moreover, after five days of waiting, the first problems begin to surface even among the ships waiting in front of the Canal.

At least twenty are used for livestock transport and the welfare of the animals could be jeopardized by the continuation of the interruption. “My biggest fear is that animals run out of food and water and get stuck on ships because they can’t be unloaded somewhere else for bureaucratic reasons,” said Gerit Weidinger, Animals International coordinator for Europe. to the Guardian.

“The risk – adds Weidinger – is that they could die of hunger, dehydration, injuries and the accumulation of waste that prevents them from lying down”. Not to mention that the crew “can’t even get rid of the bodies of animals that have died in the Suez Canal”. If the situation does not unblock “we could be faced with a possible biohazard time bomb for the animals, the crew and any other person involved”, he warned.

Assumptions about errors

News emerge instead on when it happened last Tuesday. The wind and the sandstorm, which would have reduced visibility in the Canal, “were not the main reasons for the accident” and it cannot be excluded that “a technical and human error may have contributed to the grounding”, said Rabie. . Further revelations, he promised the media, will come as a result of ongoing investigations.

The head of the authorities then explained how, unfortunately, the blockade occurred in the southern entrance of the older canal.

“If the accident had occurred in the new canal (the one born from the 2015 expansion works, ed) it would have been solved more easily”. Ever Given, with its 400 meters in length (equal to four football fields) and 59 in width, had already crossed the passage several times without encountering any problems whatsoever.

Race against time

If times are still uncertain, the operations rescue they proceed tightly.

Thanks to the work of excavators and dredgers, capable of removing thousands of cubic meters of sand, the rudder and the propeller Ever Given have started working again and the stern has moved slightly.

We can therefore move on to the next phase, the one linked to the displacement of the maritime giant entrusted to the action of 14 powerful tugs.

The hope is still that of “not having to be forced to lighten the load”, a maneuver that would lengthen the time but which would become inevitable if the current efforts did not bear the hoped-for results.

Customer loss risk

The concerns of Egypt, again expressed by Rabie, are related to the possible loss of customers. some already headed for the Cape of Good Hope. “We do not want that to happen so, as soon as we have cleared the Canal, we will work 24 hours a day to help the ships that have been stranded”, estimating a loss of 12-14 million dollars a day for the African country. Then he thanked the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates and all the countries who offered their help in the rescue operations.

Costs and compensation

Instead, it is too early to talk about the possibilities compensation and fines that they might relate to the Japanese owner of Ever Given even if, the Suez authorities let it be known that “they will be carried out in compliance with the law and consequent to the results of the investigations in progress”.

The cargo ship is insured for 3.1 billion dollars, an enormous sum that could however prove insufficient to cover the requests that could arrive from the owners of the 200 boats that have remained stationary and from the owners of their respective loads. This is what sources of the insurance program told the Wall Street Journal Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the company that owns the ship.

If the transit through the canal is not restored quickly, the US daily stresses, the domino effect will soon affect the recipients of supplies, from factories waiting for material for assembly lines to distributors who will not be able to fill some shelves. In a real storm perfect for the insurance industry, shipowners of blocked ships could also soon claim damages for non-deliveries they had planned once the blocked cargoes were brought to their destination. Finally, many of the parties involved will not only raise cash at Ever Given but, obviously, also with insurance companies through which they are protected from similar events. There is no conjecture on the bill to pay, therefore. The only certain thing is that the figure is growing by the hour.

Effects on Italian agriculture

The effects of the blockade will also affect our country. To look at the Italian “vegetable garden” is Coldiretti who in his analysis states that all the main national food products packaged and transported by ship, from wine to extra virgin olive oil, are in difficulty.

But the arrivals of the barrels of almost 70 million kilos of Chinese tomato concentrate that landed in Italy last year are also blocked. “A delicate situation”, comments the confederation, “which comes precisely at a time of resumption of Made in Italy shipments to the Asian giant with a 19.4% growth in food exports in January 2021”.



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