Suez Canal traffic jam clears, a week after grounded 'Ever Given' freed

The last 61 ships, of 422 that were backed up, passed through the waterway on Saturday

The last of the ships stuck by the grounding of the giant container ship Ever Given passed through the Suez Canal on Saturday.

It ended a backlog that started building up on March 23.

The last 61 of 422 ships that had joined the queue by the time the vessel was dislodged last Monday passed through the vital trade artery, the Suez Canal Authority said.

International supply chains were thrown into disarray when the 400-metre Ever Given ran aground in the canal.

Specialist rescue teams took almost a week to free her after extensive dredging and repeated tugging operations.

In total, 85 ships had been due to pass through the canal on Saturday including 24 ships that arrived after the Ever Given was dislodged, the SCA said.

Egypt said it may seek about $1 billion in compensation for losses incurred during the stoppage.

The figure is an estimate of lost revenue linked to transit fees, damages incurred during the dredging and salvage efforts and the cost of the equipment and labour, Suez Canal Authority chairman Admiral Osama Rabie told local television channel Sada Elbalad.

He did not specify from whom the authority would seek compensation.

“This is the country's right,” Admiral Rabie said.

The incident, he said, hurt Egypt’s reputation.

“This country should get its due.”

An investigation by the canal authority began on Wednesday to look into what caused the vessel to run aground and block the waterway.

"The investigation is going well and will take two more days, then we will announce the results," Admiral Rabie said.

Two officials of the Suez Canal Authority accused the ship's captain of manoeuvring incorrectly, leading to the giant vessel getting stuck.

"The wrong manoeuvre coincided with a dust storm and strong winds. all of which led to the loss of visibility and the ship stranding, but the weather factors were not fully responsible for the accident," a canal official told the Italian news agency Nova.