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An Egyptian tug uses a rope to try to free the Ever Given (owned by Evergreen). Photo: Suez Canal Authority via Getty Images

The world's biggest shipping firms face a major gamble this weekend over whether to risk the wait on a reopened Suez Canal.

Why it matters: One stuck ship is causing incredible downstream damage to the global economy.

Egypt says it can free the Ever Given by tomorrow night, but the canal could be closed for weeks if the dredging operation fails.

More than 200 ships are waiting outside the canal, per AP.

  • Numerous ships have started the trip around Africa.
Map: Will Chase/Axios; Satellite: Mapbox; Photo: Cnes2021, Distribution Airbus DS via AP

Between the lines: Multiple shipping firms have contacted the U.S. Navy for protection against pirates on the journey, the Financial Times reports.

  • "Pirates have long preyed on ships moving in the waters off the Horn of Africa, and the seas off oil-rich West Africa are now considered among the world’s most dangerous for shipping," WashPost notes.

The Navy is helping Egypt with the dredging operation.

  • Its dredging experts are working on a report that should be delivered tomorrow, CNN reports.

What's next: Plans are in the works to pump water from interior spaces of the vessel, and two more tugboats should arrive by Sunday, per AP.

Satellite photo: Maxar Technologies

Go deeper

Rescuers say container ship stuck in Suez could take weeks to unblock

Satellite photo: European Space Agency Copernicus Sentinel-2 Satellite/Maxar Technologies via Reuters

A skyscraper-sized container ship wedged in the Suez Canal could take weeks to unblock, wreaking further havoc on global oil markets and trade, the Financial Times reports.

Background: The 220,000-ton and quarter-mile-long Ever Given container ship, one of the largest in the world, has been stuck in the canal since it was caught in poor visibility and high winds from a sandstorm Tuesday as it was headed from China to the Netherlands.

Mar 25, 2021 - World

Ship update: Still stuck

Photo: Suez Canal Authority/HO/AFP via Getty Images

Two days later, a massive ship remains lodged in the Suez Canal.

Why it matters: One of the world's biggest vessels carrying important cargo being stuck and the blockage of a critical trade route equals global trade disaster.

"Atmospheric river" swings parts of Pacific Northwest from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. The storm system claimed the lives of two people in Washington state after a tree fell on a vehicle amid powerful winds Sunday.