2021 Mar 28 - Ship Stuck in the Suez Canal

Billy Joel once sang a song that mentioned ‘trouble in the Suez’ and right now that would be topical because the Suez Canal currently resembles another major transit route: specifically the M25 on a bank holiday Friday (albeit in a year when there’s not a pandemic: the roads are actually pretty good right now actually even if there’s nowhere to actually drive to)

But this week a container vessel named the Ever Given collided with the side of the canal and managed to get stuck sideways. If you can imagine Diane Abbot trying to shuffle sideways down the aisle of an passenger plane, it looks kinda like that really. Unfortunately, whilst that would be hilarious, this situation in Egypt is not and the shipping route being closed is costing the global economy about $10bn per day in lost trade as boats queue up at both entrances to the canal. The situation is also a lot worse because experts say it may potentially take a couple of weeks to get it sorted and with those sorts of timescales I’m assuming they have a team of broadband engineers or possible a crew from my local council flying over to deal with the mess.

The current ideas being floated (geddit?) to get the stricken boat moving again involve lightening it by syphoning off most of the fuel and removing the containers from it, so that a tug boat can get it shifted from the sand it’s lodged into. Alas these boats carry literally thousands of containers and the cranes are pretty specialist so the process of getting the boat to lose weight is going to go as slowly as if it were you or I trying to lose some weight before just like the boat going on a trip to Greece, or wherever it was that the boat was heading to.
All this of course takes place at the same time as the EU is trying to ban exports of Italian covid vaccines via the Mediterranean and the Suez canal and if the EU were competent you could call grounds for a dastardly conspiracy theory. Except as we’re all more than aware the EU is far too incompetent to pull something like that off. If it were the Panama Canal that was closed then yes I could see that they got the wrong location and they’d screwed it up and that would sound exactly like something Ursula von der Leyen would attempt. Similar to when they raided that Astrazeneca warehouse a few weeks ago and it later transpired that the vaccines in that location were actually a stock headed for Europe anyway and that they got the wrong address. Join me next week for more tales of EU misadventure.
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