The Japanese owner of the giant cargo ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal since Tuesday (23 Mar) has apologised for the disruption to global trade due to the blockage, BBC reported yesterday (25 Mar).
The blockage is creating a massive jam in the canal, with more than 150 vessels currently waiting in the area to cross it. About 12% of global trade passes through the canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
Shoei Kisen Kaisha said that it was trying to resolve the situation as soon as possible, but that dislodging the ship was proving extremely difficult. Marine and salvage engineers failed in their latest attempt yesterday.
“We sincerely apologise for causing a great deal of worry to ships in the Suez Canal and those planning to go through the canal,” Shoei Kisen Kaisha added.
The Japanese owned ship was reported to be manned by a 25-member crew, who are all Indian nationals. They were reported to be safe on the ship.
Salvage experts are now working with the Indian captain and the Suez Canal Authority to design a more effective plan to refloat the grounded ship.
Minister Ong: “To have the Suez blocked is akin to a big tree falling across the CTE”
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post yesterday, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the ship now “blocks one of the busiest waterways in the world”.
He said the the Suez Canal waterway is connected to the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
“To have the Suez blocked is akin to a big tree falling across the CTE. Every other expressway linked to the CTE will be affected,” he said.
“It can mean supplies to the region may be temporarily disrupted. Should that happen, some draw down on inventories will become necessary. The fall back is for ships to sail around the African continent – the Cape of Good Hope – to come to Asia. It is a longer journey by 1-2 weeks.”
He said that if the disruption is prolonged, Singapore’s PSA may see schedule disruptions when shipping lines reroute their journeys.
“This is another unfortunate incident that illustrates how the world is now so closely interwoven together,” he added.