Egypt launches probe into Suez Canal blockage

Egypt has launched a formal investigation to establish the cause of a giant ship veering off course and blocking the Suez Canal for days last week, disrupting global trade.

According to a BBC report, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) adviser Sayed Sheaysha said experts would board the MV Ever Given to obtain data relevant to the incident.

The investigators are expected to examine the container carrier’s seaworthiness and the crew’s actions.

The gigantic ship was wedged diagonally across the canal since 23 March, and was only refloated on Monday this week.

The vessel’s technical managers, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, said on Monday that its initial investigations suggested it had veered off course due to strong wind, according to the BBC. They also ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause.

SCA chairman Osama Rabie however believes the impact of the wind was not the main reason for the incident, and that “technical or human errors” may have been to blame.

“The Suez Canal has never been closed because of bad weather,” he said.

Following the incident, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said on Tuesday that the blockage of the Suez Canal has reaffirmed the importance of the canal.

“The crisis was something that we didn’t want, but this was fate. It affirmed the major role and significance of the canal in the past 150-160 years,” he said.

Reports indicate that more than 400 ships were stranded due to the blockage by the MV Ever Given.

The vessels resumed their journeys from Monday, with the entire backlog expected to be cleared in a few days.