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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.

  • “The more secure the ship is, the longer an operation will take,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, a company involved in the rescue, according to FT. “It can take days to weeks. Bringing in all the equipment we need, that’s not around the corner.”
  • SMIT Salvage BV, an elite ship dislodging company, and Japan's Nippon Salvage Co. have also been tapped for the rescue effort, according to Bloomberg. The rescuers may have to lighten the ship by removing fuel or water meant to keep it steady while at sea.

Why it matters: The Suez Canal accounts for approximately 30% of container shipping volumes, and blocking it even for a short amount of time will cause oil prices to rise.

  • About 100 ships are stuck in the canal waiting to pass through, carrying cargo worth almost $10 billion in oil and consumer goods.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated Mar 24, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Massive container ship gets stuck in Suez Canal, causing maritime traffic jam

Workers next to a container ship that was hit by strong winds and ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt. Photo: Suez Canal Authority via Reuters

A huge container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal late Tuesday, causing a massive maritime traffic jam.

Why it matters: The Suez accounts for approximately 30% of container shipping volumes, and blocking it for even a short time will cause oil prices to rise — and remind us that the entire global economy relies on really, really big ships.

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.