43 votes

Massive container ship stuck in Suez Canal, blocking world's busiest shipping route

24 comments

  1. [17]
    rogue_cricket
    Link
    I feel bad for anyone who works in shipping logistics right now, but this is such a spectacular failure that it's been entertaining to watch from the sidelines. If you'd like to watch it in real...

    I feel bad for anyone who works in shipping logistics right now, but this is such a spectacular failure that it's been entertaining to watch from the sidelines. If you'd like to watch it in real time here is a link:

    https://www.vesselfinder.com/?imo=9811000

    It's been stuck since Tuesday.

    In the Instragram pic in the article, I love that you can see the "tiny" excavator trying to help by digging out the side. You go, li'l guy!

    It also seems the ship drew a, uh, crude image with its path before running aground in the canal.

    Finally: the ship is called Ever Given, it's operated by Evergreen Marine, hence the big name on the side.

    20 votes
    1. [14]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      I remember seeing this Tuesday, thinking it was humorous, then assuming they'd have it taken care of within the day. It would appear that assumption was quite incorrect. I wonder when the break...

      I remember seeing this Tuesday, thinking it was humorous, then assuming they'd have it taken care of within the day. It would appear that assumption was quite incorrect. I wonder when the break even point hits for the ships waiting for the Ever Given to be cleared is, in regards to waiting vs sailing around Africa.

      Also curious if when it's refloated if they're going to let it continue north or beep, beep, beep that big ship back south to get repaired first. I've seen people theorize that the crude image was caused by the ship attempting to fix some sort of broken/stuck rudder/steering mechanism, but I won't act like I'm an expert on ships to state it as fact.

      9 votes
      1. [14]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          The vesselfinder link shows it's only about a third of the way through the section of the canal south of the Great Bitter Lake, so it has some 40km just to get to the lake and another 95km to...

          It's essentially half way and there's a bunch of ships already iin the canal behind it so it's very unlikely that they back it out.

          The vesselfinder link shows it's only about a third of the way through the section of the canal south of the Great Bitter Lake, so it has some 40km just to get to the lake and another 95km to reach the Mediterranean. The link is showing only tugs in the canal with the Ever Given, everyone else is waiting in the gulf, seas, or lake.

          5 votes
        2. [12]
          frostycakes
          Link Parent
          At what point would it make more sense for east Asian exports to Europe to cross the Pacific and use the Panama Canal instead? Fewer pirates and no touching the Southern Ocean and its wildness...

          The water is very choppy around the southern tip of Africa, very dangerous for an ocean going vessel. They would also have to deal with pirates around the horn, although I guess that's just a cost of having a well armed security team.

          At what point would it make more sense for east Asian exports to Europe to cross the Pacific and use the Panama Canal instead? Fewer pirates and no touching the Southern Ocean and its wildness that way. (Unless the PC is running at near-capacity normally and can't handle an influx of ships like this.)

          Issues with the Chinese government aside, this is why I think the BRI is a good idea. There's no reason why goods made in China or India and destined for Europe (or vice versa) should even need to touch a boat at all, just put those containers on a train and send them that way, plus I think even diesel-fueled trains are far far cleaner than giant container ships burning heavy fuel oil.

          4 votes
          1. [10]
            spctrvl
            Link Parent
            Container ships are actually significantly more efficient than rail (pdf warning). It's just that the tonnage shipped every year is so mind boggling that it adds up to a good chunk of global...

            Container ships are actually significantly more efficient than rail (pdf warning). It's just that the tonnage shipped every year is so mind boggling that it adds up to a good chunk of global emissions. We definitely need to work on solving the issues with particulate and nitrogen and sulfur emissions that container ships have, and for that matter reevaluate the global economic sprawl that requires us to ship so much so far in the first place, but if something has to be shipped, it is still best for the planet to do it by ship.

            11 votes
            1. [5]
              Adys
              Link Parent
              As a layman I'm pretty fascinated by the huge potential of carbon capture on ships. With the right technology and incentives aligned, carbon capture could have very quickly a massive impact on...

              As a layman I'm pretty fascinated by the huge potential of carbon capture on ships. With the right technology and incentives aligned, carbon capture could have very quickly a massive impact on worldwide emission because of how few ships deal such a large amount of the pollution.

              2 votes
              1. [4]
                spctrvl
                Link Parent
                I dunno about massive. It'll help, but we're still talking about an industry that's about three percent of global emissions. That's not nothing, but considering the extent of the industry, it's...

                I dunno about massive. It'll help, but we're still talking about an industry that's about three percent of global emissions. That's not nothing, but considering the extent of the industry, it's pretty good, and there's a lot more low hanging fruit to pick. That said, I think bringing back windjammers would be pretty sick.

                3 votes
                1. [3]
                  Adys
                  Link Parent
                  3 percent of ALL worldwide emissions, is pretty massive! Assuming Pareto applies, and given the success we're seeing on truck shipping networks, we can probably take care of up to 80 percent of...

                  3 percent of ALL worldwide emissions, is pretty massive! Assuming Pareto applies, and given the success we're seeing on truck shipping networks, we can probably take care of up to 80 percent of those, which comes at over 2 percent of worldwide emissions just from a few thousand ship installations. Doable in very little time. And do consider that it's not like these ships can just easily go solar or electric; other industries have to make big commitments or sometimes be entirely dismantled in order for their emissions to be fixed. The potential of carbon capture on cargo ships is way understated imo.

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    Toric
                    Link Parent
                    the big problem is you cant regulate them. No countries EPA-equivalent has justification over international waters. The boats only have to follow the laws of the country whos flag they are flying,...

                    the big problem is you cant regulate them. No countries EPA-equivalent has justification over international waters. The boats only have to follow the laws of the country whos flag they are flying, which is to say, countries who make significant portions of their income on ship registration fees. Those countries are not going to pass environmental regulations on boats, and even if one or two does, it will simply go bankrupt as ships immediately register with other countries. As soon as a ship is in international waters, its pretty much only regulated by international marine time laws...

                    1. Adys
                      Link Parent
                      Of course you can regulate them. You just can't police them while they're in international water but you can require that they follow whatever you wish. You can regulate the companies and how they...

                      Of course you can regulate them. You just can't police them while they're in international water but you can require that they follow whatever you wish. You can regulate the companies and how they operate, you can prevent use of your country's docks, etc.

                      3 votes
            2. [3]
              frostycakes
              Link Parent
              That's super interesting, I had no idea. Thanks for that PDF as well. Another layman spitball idea here, but I'd have to imagine nuclear propulsion as a viable medium-term option for drastically...

              That's super interesting, I had no idea. Thanks for that PDF as well.

              Another layman spitball idea here, but I'd have to imagine nuclear propulsion as a viable medium-term option for drastically reducing the emissions of shipping all this freight around the world. Is that something anyone has or is pursuing? Naturally it comes with a whole new set of issues and risks to address, but it seems like the tradeoffs between those and increasingly pumping more carbon into the atmosphere are going to keep shifting in favor of an option like that.

              2 votes
              1. Toric
                Link Parent
                IMO, nuke propulsion is probably one of our go-to long term options. Its a sea-proven tech (the military uses it for carriers), its total cost could be brought down a LOT by mass production of...

                IMO, nuke propulsion is probably one of our go-to long term options. Its a sea-proven tech (the military uses it for carriers), its total cost could be brought down a LOT by mass production of reactors, and has zero carbon emissions. Also, uranium is relatively plentiful in the earths crust, compared to how much needs to be used to generate power.

                3 votes
              2. nukeman
                Link Parent
                It’s the only method we could build right now that doesn’t use liquid fuels, the major issue would be regulations which prohibit nuclear vessels from docking in some countries, as well as finding...

                It’s the only method we could build right now that doesn’t use liquid fuels, the major issue would be regulations which prohibit nuclear vessels from docking in some countries, as well as finding a country willing to invest in construction and serializing production.

                2 votes
            3. psi
              Link Parent
              Cargo ships produce a great deal of pollution, but (presumably) that's because they carry a great deal of cargo. It's difficult to fathom just how much stuff is on that ship, but I think the...

              Cargo ships produce a great deal of pollution, but (presumably) that's because they carry a great deal of cargo. It's difficult to fathom just how much stuff is on that ship, but I think the Washington Post put it nicely [1].

              If each container was placed onto a truck and each was six feet apart, the line would be about 170 miles long and would stretch from D.C. to Trenton, N.J.


              [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/03/25/faq-suez-canal-ever-given/

              1 vote
          2. JoylessAubergine
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            From what i understand BRI is in a weird place for logistics. They've not quite found what it should be used for. It's slightly faster but more expensive than by ship (as others have said, ships...

            From what i understand BRI is in a weird place for logistics. They've not quite found what it should be used for. It's slightly faster but more expensive than by ship (as others have said, ships are very fuel efficient and fuel is shipping's main expense (~50%)) and the speed increase doesn't justify the price increase for the vast majority of things shipped internationally. For things that need to be transported very quickly they use planes but that of course is significantly more expensive.

            The north east passage (NEP) maybe the future of China-Europe shipping . It's still at least decade off but NEP is something like 3000-5000nm (~30%) shorter trip from east asia to mainland europe. When it is shown to open consistently it will probably take the east asian chunk of the Suez's traffic.

            2 votes
    2. [2]
      Thrabalen
      Link Parent
      I'd read that they got it out, but I was apparently mistaken. This is what happens when a ship that is essentially the Empire State Building aligned horizontally gets wedged. (The ESB is 380m, the...

      I'd read that they got it out, but I was apparently mistaken. This is what happens when a ship that is essentially the Empire State Building aligned horizontally gets wedged. (The ESB is 380m, the Ever Given 400m.) It's fascinating, but it does show how shipping is a miraculous endeavor that usually has its stuff together... this is the first I've ever heard about anything of this magnitude.

      3 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        It's funny you mention that! I live in Los Angeles, and one day was at the Getty Museum which is on a mountainside in the Santa Monica mountains. If you look out you can see the Pacific ocean and...

        It's funny you mention that! I live in Los Angeles, and one day was at the Getty Museum which is on a mountainside in the Santa Monica mountains. If you look out you can see the Pacific ocean and the cargo ships going to the port of Long Beach just south of LA. I noticed that the tankers looked about the same length as the skyscrapers downtown were tall. I wasn't sure if the distances were the same or not, but it sounds like they are around the same size. That's pretty cool!

        4 votes
  2. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    Someone has created https://istheshipstillstuck.com/, if you want a convenient way to be able to check on the status.

    Someone has created https://istheshipstillstuck.com/, if you want a convenient way to be able to check on the status.

    13 votes
    1. AugustusFerdinand
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Current status of is the ship is still stuck: Sort of. - Statements from the CEO of the salvage company attempting to unstick the stuck ship. Edit: It's free!

      Current status of is the ship is still stuck:

      Sort of. - Statements from the CEO of the salvage company attempting to unstick the stuck ship.

      Edit: It's free!

      5 votes
  3. ras
    Link
    I imagine that somewhere, someone has run a cost benefit analysis on blowing the ship to smithereens and dealing with that mess versus weeks of disrupted shipping.

    I imagine that somewhere, someone has run a cost benefit analysis on blowing the ship to smithereens and dealing with that mess versus weeks of disrupted shipping.

    6 votes
  4. cfabbro
    Link
    The Operations Room just posted a decent animated overview of how/why the ship got stuck, and the rescue efforts afterwards: Container Ship Ever Given Runs Aground in the Suez Canal - The Rescue -...

    The Operations Room just posted a decent animated overview of how/why the ship got stuck, and the rescue efforts afterwards: Container Ship Ever Given Runs Aground in the Suez Canal - The Rescue - Animated

    p.s. I figured it probably wasn't worth a new topic, so posted it here instead.

    3 votes
  5. [2]
    Toric
    Link
    At what point are they just going to cut the thing up to disloge it?

    At what point are they just going to cut the thing up to disloge it?

    1 vote