The stranded container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week was almost fully re-floated on Monday and has restarted its engines, a shipping source with knowledge of the matter said, raising hopes the busy waterway will soon be reopened.
The 400-metre (430-yard) long Ever Given has been straightened in the canal and will undergo initial inspections before being moved, two sources said.
The ship's engines had started and preparations were under way to move the Ever Given to the Great Lakes area, a canal source said.
A video posted on Facebook early on Monday appeared to show the stern of the container ship that had been stuck in the Suez Canal swung towards the canal bank, opening space in the channel.
The video showed tug boats moving around the Ever Given container ship and voices could be heard shouting in celebration.
Ship-tracking service VesselFinder has changed the ship's status to under way on its website.
Leth Agencies said early Monday that the breakthrough came after intensive efforts to push and pull the ship with 10 tugboats and vacuum up sand with several dredgers at spring tide.
The skyscraper-sized Ever Given became stuck in the Suez Canal last Tuesday and has held up $9 billion in global trade each day, bringing disruption to the vital waterway.
At least 369 vessels were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie told Egypt's Extra News on Sunday.
About 15% of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is a key source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt.
The current stoppage is costing the canal $14-$15 million a day.Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage has disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.
Over two dozen vessels have opted for the alternative route between Asia and Europe around the Cape of Good Hope, adding some two weeks to journeys and threatening delivery delays.
First published: 07:45 , 03.29.21