- The Japanese owner of the container ship stuck in the Suez Canal has apologized for the disruption it caused.
- Yukito Higaki told local media that an attempt would be made to refloat the vessel on Saturday.
- Workers who were trying to remove the ship will be taking advantage of tidal movements, he said.
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The Japanese owner of the giant container ship that has been blocking a vital passageway in the Suez Canal has apologized for causing “tremendous trouble” and said he hopes it will be refloated as soon as Saturday.
The MV Ever Given has been stuck sideways across Egypt’s canal for more than three days, clogging a vital artery for the global economy and forcing multiple ships to turn around and reroute through Africa.
For days, experts have been racking their brains about how to dislodge the huge vessel, which ran aground on Tuesday after a sandstorm affected visibility.
Yukito Higaki, president of Shoei Kisen –the company that owns the boat – told local media on Friday that 10 tugboats had been deployed to dredge the banks and canal bottom.
“The ship is not taking water. There is no problem with its rudders and propellers. Once it refloats, it should be able to operate,” Higaki said, according to the BBC.
He added that crews were working to dislodge the 1,312 ft-long ship as early as Saturday by taking advantage of strong tidal movements.
“We apologize for blocking the traffic and causing the tremendous trouble and worry to many people, including the involved parties,” Higaki added, according to Al Jazeera.
Higaki also said the company had considered removing some of the thousands of containers from the vessel but realized this would be a complex operation that could take days. He said it remained an option if all other efforts fail.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the ship’s technical manager, said on Friday that an attempt to refloat the vessel had failed despite crews used a specialized suction dredger, which can shift 70,000 cubic feet of material every hour, the BBC reported.
The White House also offered to send help to the Suez Canal on Friday, including a team of US Navy experts.
“We’re tracking the situation very closely,” Psaki told reporters during a press conference. “We understand that Egyptian officials are working to remove the tanker as soon as possible and continue traffic.”
Meanwhile, the number of other vessels waiting to pass through the Suez Canal was “growing exponentially,” warned Joe Reynolds, the chief engineer of the 2006 container ship, Maersk Ohio, according to the BBC.
The blockage has caused a huge traffic jam of more than 200 ships in the Red Sea.