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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - CAIRO — The head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) reiterated that no deaths or injuries or fuel leaks have occurred following the grounding of the container ship in Suez Canal, as efforts to refloat it on Saturday's high tide failed.
The Egyptian SCA Chairman Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie confirmed that the incident of Ever Given grounding in the navigation waterway of the Suez Canal, had caused no fatalities, pollution, or fuel leakage from the giant ship.
In a news conference here Saturday, he said that dealing with this ship was difficult as it has a 400 meters long and 59 meters wide, in addition to an overall loading of more of 223,000 tons.
He pointed out that the sandstorm was not the main reason for its grounding, indicating that in such big incidents there would be more than a single reason.
Rabie denied that Ever Given grounding was deliberate, explaining that there are technical reasons behind the giant container grounding within other reasons and this will not be determined until the investigations are completed.
The giant container ship remained stuck across Suez Canal after attempts to dislodge it on Saturday's high tide failed. Canal officials said however that some progress had been made, and that they hoped the ship could be afloat again by Sunday evening.
The Ever Given has been wedged in the canal — one of the world's busiest trade routes — since Tuesday. More than 300 ships are stuck on either side of the blockage. Some vessels have had to reroute around Africa.
On Saturday about 20,000 tons of sand was dredged, and 14 tugboats pulled and pushed the Ever Given in order to try to dislodge it.
Although strong tides and winds complicated efforts to free the ship, the tugboats managed to move it 30 degrees in two directions.
Footage posted on Twitter appeared to show the tugboats honking their horns to celebrate this small victory.
Rabie said that water had started running underneath the vessel. "We expect that at any time the ship could slide and move from the spot it is in," he told a press conference.
He added that he hoped it wouldn't be necessary to remove any of the 18,300 containers on board to lighten the ship's load. Canal authorities previously said they would send in more tugboats if Saturday's attempts failed.
The Ever Given is operated by the Taiwanese firm Evergreen Marine and owned by Shoei Kisen of Japan. Yukito Higaki, president of Shoei Kisen, said on Friday that the ship did not appear to be damaged. "The ship is not taking water. Once it refloats, it should be able to operate," he said. — Agencies
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