The blockage disrupted traffic in the 300-foot-wide, man-made waterway for nearly a day when the MV Ever Given, a ship registered in Panama that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, hit the bottom of the canal Tuesday.
The ship started moving Wednesday after being refloated and moved to the side of the waterway, a shipping source and a witness told Reuters.
Images showed the ship’s bow touching the eastern wall of the canal while its stern appeared lodged against the western wall — an extraordinary event that experts said they had never heard of happening before in the canal’s 150-year history.
“The Suez Canal will not spare any efforts to ensure the restoration of navigation and to serve the movement of global trade,” Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said.
Officials assigned tugboats to the task of trying to nudge the obstruction out of the way as more ships started lining up one after the other in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, awaiting passage to transport goods on the route through which about 10% of the world trade flows, including large amounts of oil.
One official warned that moving the ship could take at least two days. Initial reports of the blockage appeared around 8 p.m. EST, and Reuters reported movement at around 8 a.m. EST.