Well, from the memes it generated, Ever Given, we hardly knew ye.
The ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal was freed Monday, and I know I’m late to the party with this, but the whole affair tickled me pink.
In the end, the engineers, boat captains and a good chunk of the world’s commerce was not only held up by a wayward shipping boat full of large cargo containers, but had to be helped out by the moon.
Yes, the moon.
As most people know, the moon influences the tides, and on Monday what is known as a “king tide,” the highest high tide of the year, helped lift the Ever Given enough it could float out of its stuck position in the historic Suez Canal. The ship carried 18,000 cargo containers, according to The Washington Post, and aside from offloading all of the containers to get it to float, the tide was a last ditch effort to free it.
Someone even created a website, istheshipstillstuck.com, tracking the efforts to get it moving. The site now shows the Ever Given floating serenely in what Google Maps translates as the Great Bitter Lake, a small lake making up part of the canal.
The canal is 120 miles long and, according to USA Today, 30% of the world’s shipped goods flow through it. Because of the blockage, ships were even resorting to 19th century trade routes, taking their goods via the Cape of Good Hope, along the coast of South Africa. Bartolomeu Dias would be proud.
For a moment, I had world history flashbacks and Mr. Watson with his sibilant way of pronouncing the word “indubitably.”
According to The New York Times, the shipping crisis cost the Egyptian government $90 million in lost toll revenue from the canal. The stall held up as much as $10 billion in cargo per day, and for six days everyone watched a ship not moving. The article says it will take years before the full effects of the holdup are known.
The biggest question though, is how? Even now, it is still unclear who or what is responsible for everything, the article states; was it the crew, the pilots on the canal authority or some freak accident of nature? The wind was blowing a hefty 35 mph the day it got stuck.
But hey, at least we have the memes. There’s one photo with the giant ship being pushed by a tiny excavator covered with the words “I’m trying my best,” or “you’re going to need a bigger boat.” I’ll avoid the more graphic ones about the blockage, but there was one funny one with a giant Q-Tip angling up the canal.