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 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.”
There were 24 people on board during the wreck: 23 crew members and one pilot. Of the rescued, 20 were initially safely removed from the boat according to the US Coast Guard. The remaining four were later rescued, all alive and in “relatively good condition,” according to the Associated Press.
However, after delays from hurricanes and the coronavirus pandemic, the first cut was not removed until late November 2020, according to Car and Driver. Shortly after oin December 9, 2020, Car and Driver published a report that found that hundreds of subcompact vehicles were replaced by the heavier Kia Telluride SUV, therefore changing the ship’s balance and causing the wreck.
See the full timeline of the Golden Ray wreck:
The cargo ship Golden Ray capsized and caught fire in September 2019 in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, roughly 80 miles south of Savannah, Georgia.
The US Coast Guard called the wreck “unprecedented,” according to NPR …
The ship was headed to Baltimore up the coast from Jacksonville, Florida.
There were 24 people on board: 23 crew members and one pilot. Everyone was rescued alive.
Before being rescued, the rescue team was communicating with the trapped crew members through a hole the rescuers’ drilled, according to CBS.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources had been monitoring the coastal environmental conditions following the capsizing.
The company thanked the Coast Guard in a statement, and said it would work on “mitigating damage to property and the environment.”
A joint recovery team between the state of Georgia, the Coast Guard, and Hyundai’s contractor, Gallagher Marine Systems, was tasked with pumping the approximately 300,000 gallons of fuel and oil out of the ship’s tank, NPR reported.
The rocks will be removed after the Golden Ray has been completely dismantled.
Marine chemists and salvage operators, pictured below on November 22, 2019, were assessing the oil inside of the wreckage in order to figure out the best way to remove oil without damaging the environment and response crew.
Work barges have been deployed to clean up the tank’s oil, as announced by St. Simons Sound Response on December 4, 2019. Barges provide better access to crew members and equipment.
On December 12, 2019, the St. Simons Sound Incident Response Unified Command finished removing oil from all of the ship’s 26 accessible tanks. Some of the tanks were submerged and had to be oil pumped via diving operations.
Over 320,000 gallons of oil and water were removed.
“This milestone helps ensure the health of the environment and the livelihoods of the people who rely on the St. Simons Sound,” Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s emergency response state on-scene coordinator Jed Hewitt said in a statement. “The removal of fuel from the vessel has significantly reduced the remaining threat to the environment.”
On December 20, 2019, Golden Ray’s rudder and propeller -which weighed a total of 130 tons – were removed to “help reduce stresses to the hull of the wreck,” St. Simons Sound Response wrote in a statement.
A fire was started on board the ship on January 19 when contract welders were working inside the ship. At least one car inside of the Golden Ray caught on fire, but the flames were put out via the contractor’s fireboat, local news reported.
Donjon-SMIT, the former Golden Ray salvage company, filed a lawsuit against the US Coast Guard alleging that the Coast Guard violated federal law by dropping Donjon-SMIT to work with a rival company, News 4 Jax reported.
Donjon-SMIT said the US Coast Guard allegedly violated a 1990 federal law after Donjon-SMIT was dropped as the official salvage response company even though it was already a part of the Golden Ray’s response plan, WABE reported.
On December 9, 2020, Car and Driver published a report that found that hundreds of subcompact vehicles were replaced by the heavier Kia Telluride SUVs, therefore changing the ship’s balance and causing the wreck.