White House says the US has offered help to re-open Suez Canal: ‘We’re tracking the situation very closely’

ever given suez canal
They’re trying their best.

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the US has offered assistance to re-open the Suez Canal.
  • A massive cargo ship has blocked the major waterway in Egypt for days.
  • “We’re tracking the situation very closely,” Psaki said Friday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said the United States has offered assistance to help re-open the Suez Canal, a major waterway in Egypt that has been jammed by a massive cargo ship for days.

“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.”

“We’re consulting with our Egyptian partners about how we can best support their efforts,” Psaki added.

The Ever Given vessel is 1,300 feet long and nearly 200 feet wide, or about the size of the Empire State Building. It ran aground early Tuesday, likely due to strong winds and poor visibility, and has since been stuck sideways in the canal.

The blockage has disrupted one of the world’s most important trade routes, which connects Europe to Asia. Hundreds of container ships have been halted because of the enormous boat.

The ship’s owner, Japanese company Shoei Kisen, hopes to dislodge it on Saturday, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei Asia. The timeframe seems optimistic, as shipping experts have said that it could take weeks to free the vessel.

The canal is responsible for around 10% of global trade, and an estimated 1.9 million barrels of oil are usually transported through the route every day. The London-based shipping-news journal, Lloyd’s List, reported that the maritime traffic jam is costing the global economy roughly $400 million an hour.

“We do see some potential impacts on energy markets,” Psaki said Friday. “Obviously, that’s one of the reasons we offered assistance from the United States.”

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The company behind the Suez Canal blockage once spilled 28,800 plastic toys into the ocean in the 1990s

Suez canal ever given
The Ever Given, trapped in the Suez Canal, Egypt, as of Thursday March 25 2021.

  • 28,800 plastic toys were mysteriously dumped into the ocean in the 1990s, prompting a big investigation.
  • They were eventually traced back to a ship operated by Evergreen Marine.
  • Evergreen Marine is the company behind the Ever Given, the vessel currently blocking the Suez Canal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A boat operated by the Evergreen Marine Corp., the company behind the vessel currently blocking the Suez Canal, once released 28,800 plastic toys into the Pacific Ocean by accident in the 1990s – and they were still washing up on shores around the world 15 years later.

The plastic toys included 7,200 red beavers, 7,200 green frogs, 7,200 blue turtles and 7,200 yellow ducks, according to the journalist Donovan Hohn, who wrote a book about it.

The boat was eventually confirmed to be the Ever Laurel, a boat operated by the Evergreen Marine Corp.

But the origin of the plastic toys remained unknown for years until Hohn pieced it together. He later explained the phenomenon in his book, titled “Moby-Duck: The true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea.”

Route taken by the plastic toys after they were accidentally spilled in the Pacific Ocean in 1992.

After the spillage, hundreds of the toys were found on shores around the world, prompting a scientific investigation.

Two oceanographers, Jim Ingraham and Curtis Ebbesmeyer, fed the coordinates of the plastic-toy sightings into their ocean current surface simulator, and traced the drift patterns back to the North Pacific.

They had been using the simulator to reconstruct drift routes for 200 Nike sneakers which had previously been lost to sea when a shipment of 80,000 shoes went overboard.

Using these coordinates and cross-referencing it with records, Hohn pieced together the history of the contamination back to the Ever Laurel, a ship operated by the Evergreen Marine, which had left Hong Kong on January 6, 1992 and arrived in Tacoma, Washington, on January 16.

The toys continued to be spotted for years, with the most recent sighting in the UK in 2007.

Evergreen Marine was back in the news this week for being the company behind the Ever Given, the container ship that has blocked the Suez Canal since Tuesday. The blockage is estimated to be costing the global economy an estimated $400 million per hour.

The ship’s owner, Japanese company Shoei Kisen, said Friday that it was sorry for the disruption, and said it hoped to free the vessel on Saturday, according to Nikkei Asia.

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This $329,000 silent electric boat that was inspired by electric eels just debuted in the US

Eelex 8000_12
Eelex 8000.

  • X Shore sells fully electric, silent boats.
  • The two newest models, the Eelex 8000 and the Eelord 6000 were shown in January, and the Eelex 8000 is available in the US today.
  • The more expensive boat costs over $300,000.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

X Shore’s boats don’t necessarily look like eels, but the company says they were inspired by electric South American fish. The $329,000 Eelex 8000 is available in the US beginning March 25.

X Shore started taking orders for electric boats in 2018, and now has two models for sale, the Eelex 8000 and the Eelord 6000. They’re manufactured in Sweden, but can be transported globally. The larger Eelex 6500 and Eeltrek 8000 are also in the works, though not yet for sale.

Electric boats are quieter, and create less emissions than boats powered by fossil fuels. They’re also cheaper, according to X Shore, which says the cost of refueling an electric boat can be as low as one-tenth the cost for fossil fuels. At over $300,000 for the larger boat, X Shore boats seem to be going for the luxury crowd, but they’re smaller crafts than other electric yachts on the market.

See the Eelex 8000 here.

The Eelex 8000 is the most expensive boat currently sold by X Shore, at about $329,000.

Eelex 8000_Palma_
Eelex 8000.

Deck and hull colors are customizable, with three options: moss, sandy, and coffee.

X Shore Eelex 8000 (41)
Eelex 8000.

It weighs about 5,700 pounds, with a width of 8 feet and a length of 26 feet.

Eelex 8000_6
Eelex 8000.

It fully charges in eight hours, or in only one hour on supercharging mode.

Eelex 8000_7
Eelex 8000.

Cruising speed is 24 knots, but it can reach up to 40 knots.

Eelex 8000_8
Eelex 8000.

It has a range of up to 100 nautical miles, depending on travel speed.

Eelex 8000_10
Eelex 8000.

X Shore calls its engine design a “clean and efficient powerhouse.”

Eelex 8000_11
Eelex 8000.

Along with the wheel, controls are on a 24 inch waterproof and glare-proof touch screen.

electric boat X Shore
Eelex 8000.

The boat is powered by lithium ion batteries, which power the single shaft propulsion system.

Eelex 8000_12
Eelex 8000.

Electric power is quieter than fossil fuel powered-boats, and X Shore emphasizes that its boats are silent.

Eelex 8000_4
Eelex 8000.

Quieter craft mean boaters can explore the water without as much harm to the natural environment, or scaring wildlife away.

Eelex 8000_9
Eelex 8000.

Or, as X Shore puts it, “You have become One with Nature.”

Eelex 8000_5
Eelex 8000.

Electric power also means fewer fossil fuel emissions, which can contribute to climate change.

Eelex 8000_3
Eelex 8000.

X Shore credits this care for the natural world with its Swedish heritage, “where people and the sea have lived in harmony for centuries.”

Eelex 8000_2
Eelex 8000.

The minimalist Scandinavian design was inspired by the South American Electric Eel.

Eelex 8000_1
Eelex 8000.

“We modeled our boats after the eel’s robust head and its sleek, streamlined body” X Shore said.

electric eel
Electric eel.

The eel ornament on the boat nods to that inspiration, and also acts as a handle for passengers.

electric boat X Shore
Eelex 8000.

Of course, the eel’s electric abilities also partially inspired the design.

Eelex 8000_1
Eelex 8000.

The Eelex 8000 has a sunroof and roofrack.

Eelex 8000_2
Eelex 8000.

It has two rows of seating, enough for four passengers.

Eelex 8000_4
Eelex 8000.

X Shore offers test drives for interested buyers.

Eelex 8000_details
Eelex 8000.

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Florida stone crab claws are one of the priciest seafoods you can buy. Here’s what makes them so expensive.

  • Stone crab claws are one of the most expensive seafoods you can buy.
  • A plate of four 7-ounce stone crab claws at a restaurant can cost you $140.
  • They’re partly pricey due to how they’re caught, which is can be exhaustive and sometimes dangerous.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Stone crab claws are one of the priciest seafoods you can buy. And depending on their size, a pound of claws at a restaurant can cost as much as $70. But catching these crabs is hard work. Strangely enough, fishers can only harvest the claws from the crabs, while the bodies must be returned to the ocean. So, what makes these claws so coveted? And why are they so expensive?

You can only fish for stone crab on the southeastern coast of the US, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Mexico. And it’s Florida where more stone crabs are caught than anywhere else. These crustaceans are markedly more expensive than other popular crabs. A pound of claws can cost two times the price of Alaskan snow crab legs. Part of what makes these crabs so costly is the labor-intensive process of catching them.

Ernie Piton: There’s a nice crab.

Narrator: Ernie Piton Jr. has been commercially fishing for stone crabs for over 40 years. With limited time to harvest each year, his crew must start their days early, sailing out before the sun rises. The process begins with dropping traps down to the ocean floor.

Kevin Henry: This is probably the funnest part, you know? You get to be a little more physical, you know what I mean? It’s a little bit of a rhythm thing going on here. It’s like dancing mariachi.

Narrator: But plucking these claws can be a dangerous process.

Bill Kelly: The claws on an adult crab can have as much as 9,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. With the enormous pressure that’s exerted, they could actually pop a finger off at the joint.

Kevin: These crabs, they have a mind of their own. You can easily get bit, you know, if you’re not careful. I’ve only been bit maybe, say, eight times in my career. Popped over a million claws in my day.

Narrator: The crew leaves the traps in the water for about two weeks before they’re pulled in by a rope. Then each one must be sorted thoroughly.

Kevin: We come back in a couple weeks, and then got a couple in the trap, we’re gonna pull them out. We’re gonna pop their claws and hope for a good day.

Narrator: Crews break off the claws quickly, so they don’t keep the crabs out of water for too long. But even if a trap is full of crabs, Kevin can’t necessarily take every claw. The state requires all harvested claws to be at least 2 7/8 inches long. Crabbers can legally break off both claws if they meet the required size.

Ernie: The ones that look smaller, we measure them on the gauge. Like that one.

Narrator: Crabs are one of few animals that can regenerate. When a crab loses a claw — or two — it can grow each one back in time. On average, claws can take up to three years to grow large enough to harvest again, which is why the state requires that crabbers pay close attention to each claw’s size. This ensures fishers don’t remove one prematurely. But despite the claws’ ability to regrow, some researchers have questioned the sustainability of this system.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that 46% to 82% of crabs died from the loss of two claws, while 23% to 59% died from the removal of one. That’s compared to just 12.8% of crabs that died when no claws were removed. Crabs can also only regrow a claw if the joint that linked it is left intact. Otherwise, it’ll bleed to death. This makes the way these claws are broken all the more important for preserving the fishery’s future.

Hiring enough people to make the operation run smoothly is another reason for the high price of these claws. And then there’s one other cost you’d never expect. Each trip requires 900 pounds of pig’s feet for bait. And that’s just about half of the total cost of fishing for the day.

Ernie: Normal running cost to go stone crabbing today is about $1,100 to leave the dock. Bait prices have gone up, fuel prices have gone up. You know, the track tag prices have gone up.

Narrator: After 10 hours on the boat, Ernie’s crew must boil and ice their catch as soon as they return, otherwise the claws won’t stay fresh. They finish the day by weighing each claw, which ultimately sets the final value. Claws are sold in four sizes. At Billy’s Stone Crab, restaurant prices range from $35 to $70 per pound.

Brian Hershey: We run about 4,000 pounds of stone crab through the restaurant each week. On a busy weekend, we sell 700 to 800 pounds of stone crab.

Narrator: The most expensive order costs $140. The plate is made up of four 7-ounce colossal claws, which yields just under 1 pound of crabmeat. Fresh-cooked claws sold on ice are less expensive, but even then, the mediums will cost you $29 per pound.

Years ago, stone crabs weren’t such valuable food. In the 1890s, they were nothing more than bycatch in spiny-lobster traps. Fishers began to keep the crabs that fell into those traps, and by the late 20th century, the stone crab fishery had become one of the most valuable industries in Florida. Today, it’s worth $30 million, and the prices of these claws aren’t likely to drop anytime soon.

Data from the FWC show the number of crabs caught each year has declined by 712,000 pounds. That’s since peak harvest in the late 1990s. Many commercial harvesters have also started fishing farther offshore, pointing to a lesser number of crabs in the area. The FWC says both of these changes signify a threat of overfishing, and prices have gone up in order to keep the fishery profitable.

To further protect the species’ future, the FWC instated even stricter regulations last year. Two changes include an increase in the minimum size of harvestable claws and cutting the fishing season short by two weeks. These limitations aren’t likely to lower the cost of stone crab claws. But the goal is to help preserve them and keep Florida fishers busy for years to come.

Kevin: One crab, I remember, my favorite crab I ever saw, it looked like a Louis Vuitton pattern. Bunch of diamonds. And it was just a pretty thing.

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