- 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.
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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.”
-The Recount (@therecount) March 26, 2021