An unusually high ‘spring’ tide might help refloat the Ever Given on the Suez Canal, reports say

Suez canal ever given
The Ever Given in the Suez Canal.

  • An unusually high spring tide is expected in the Suez Canal on Monday.
  • The tide, also called a king tide, could help refloat the Ever Given, according to multiple reports.
  • If the ship can’t be moved soon, teams will begin removing some of its containers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tides go out, then come back in again but the boat blocking the Suez Canal still won’t budge.

Monday, however, will bring an unusually high tide, called a “spring” tide, to the canal. It’s expected to push the canal’s water level up as much as 18 inches, which could help dislodge the Ever Given, as The New York Times and other outlets reported.

Tugboats and dredging crews are working to refloat the ship, which has been blocking the canal since Tuesday. They moved it slightly on Saturday. But Monday’s tide will add a little extra room for it to float, which might help move the ship, according to experts.

“The significance of this high water is that it’s higher than at the time of the grounding so in theory it gives you your best shot,” a retired British Navy commander, Tom Sharpe, told The Wall Street Journal.

Suez Egypt
Tides for the next seven days at the Suez Canal.

“You have a significant increase in water in there,” Richard Meade, a managing editor of Lloyd’s List Maritime Intelligence told Bloomberg.

Spring tides are also called “king tides,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA0. The “spring” is a reference to the “springing forth” of the tide as a new or full moon arrives, according to NOAA.

Spring Tide Graphic NOAA
Spring tides occur with the arrival of a new or full moon.

After Monday, when the spring tides peak, the high tides will begin getting lower, according to data from Tide-Forecast. As the tides become lower, it may become more difficult to refloat the Ever Given, although Reuters reported that experts were divided on the subject.

If the ship can’t be moved soon, teams will begin removing some of the containers aboard the ship, attempting to lighten its load, Lt. Gen Osama Rabie, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, told reporters on Saturday. That process may take weeks.

“I think the most likely outcome is that it will be refloated on Sunday or Monday. But the worst case (stuck for weeks) is a real possibility,” Clemens Schapeler, of Transporeon, told Reuters.

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Tankers and container ships, including Cheniere and Shell/BG vessels, are changing course to avoid the Suez Canal logjam

ever given suez canal
Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that is wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway.

  • Cheniere and Shell/BG vessels change routes to avoid congestion at the Suez Canal in Egypt.
  • The logjam has disrupted one of the busiest trade routes in the world.
  • At least 10 tankers and container ships are altering course.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

At least 10 tankers and container ships, including two that are carrying natural gas for Cheniere and Shell/BG Group, are averting their routes to avoid the congestion in the Suez Canal, CNBC reports.

The outlet quoted MarineTraffic spokesman Georgios Hatzimanolis as saying: “We expect that number to go up as this closure progresses. From Asia to Europe we are seeing ships divert in the Indian Ocean, just below the southern tip of Sri Lanka.”

MarineTraffic released data showing the diversions. According to the service, there are 97 shipping vessels stuck in the upper end of the canal, 23 vessels waiting in the centre, and 108 vessels in the lower end, as reported by CNBC.

Data showed that one tanker, named Maran Gas Andros, left Texas on March 19. It is apparently carrying 170,000 cubic meters of liquified crude oil.

According to the CNBC report, it changed course, along with other tankers, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, before diverting to go around the Cape of Good Hope.

The most recent update on the Suez Canal crisis came from a statement by Evergreen, the corporation that owns the stricken Ever Given vessel. It said more than 20,000 tons of sand and mud have been removed in a dredging operation.

The rudder and propeller are fully functional and expected to provide additional support to tugboats, according to the statement.

Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has made plans to ease the pressure on the stranded ship, according to the BBC. That would involve moving some containers to another vessel or land near the canal.

The rescue team is carrying on with the dredging efforts and will resume endeavours to refloat the shipping vessel at 14:00 local time on Sunday.

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Energy-sector ETFs the only group to see $1 billion in weekly inflows as Suez Canal blockage and coming summer demand create favorable backdrop for oil

oil texas
Workers extracting oil from oil wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas.

  • Energy-sector ETFs took in more than $1 billion in inflows this week, the only funds from a major sector to do so.
  • Energy inflows accompanied some recovery in oil prices after they dropped into correction territory.
  • Oil prices could stick to higher ground if a cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal remains lodged there for weeks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Energy sector exchange-traded funds were the only group this week to add more than $1 billion in inflows as the cargo-ship blockage in the Suez Canal helped oil prices recover from their slump into correction territory.

Energy ETFs were a standout as flows to sector funds “fell prey to the general uncertainty” that ran through the week ended March 24, said EPFR, a subsidiary of Informa that provides fund flows and asset allocation data.

Four of the 11 major groups — commodities, telecoms, technology and financial sector funds — logged outflows for the week, according to a note issued Friday.

Investors pushed into energy sector funds “during a week when the blockage of the Suez Canal, the prospect of the North American spring and summer driving season and expectations of less investment in new supply helped the price of oil rebound from an earlier correction,” said Cameron Brandt, director of research at EPFR, in the note.

Brent oil, the international benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate crude prices tracking US light, sweet crude this week fell into correction territory, with prices down 10% or more from recent highs.

Prices have since recovered some ground, with Brent and WTI each rising by more than 4% on Friday. Brent traded above $64 a barrel after sliding below $61 this week. WTI hovered close to $61 following its drop under $58 a barrel.

Also on Friday, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund rose 1.8%, the Vanguard Energy ETF picked up 1% and the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF added on 2.3%.

Oil prices gained on expectations of tighter oil supplies while a cargo ship remains stuck in the Suez Canal, a key trade route that’s used to transport crude and refined products and connects Europe to Asia. Analysts have said it may be weeks before the Ever Given, a nearly 200-foot-wide and 1,300-foot-long vessel, is dislodged from the canal.

The blockage is costing $400 million an hour in delayed goods, according to a Lloyd’s List estimate, with hundreds of cargo ships are now unable to pass through the canal.

“The blockage has impacted over 20 oil tankers and the longer this lasts, it should drive oil prices higher,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. Meanwhile, “Europe is slowly getting their vaccine rollout in order and that should trigger energy traders to price in an improved crude demand outlook by the summer,” he said.

As the summer driving season approaches in the US, roughly 14% of the population has been vaccinated for the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Joe Biden on Thursday raised his vaccination goal to 200 million for the first 100 days of his administration after hitting his previous target of 100 million.

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