The massive container ship lodged in the Suez Canal may be disrupting global supply chains for weeks to come, but we’ll at least have memes to float us through.
Ever Given, a vessel nearly twice as long as the canal is wide, ran aground on Tuesday due to low visibility amid high winds and a dust storm. Clocking in at 1,300 feet and 224,000 tons, Ever Given “might take weeks” to be removed, according to Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski. Boskalis is a Dutch company trying to dislodge the ship. The Suez Canal Authority has suspended traffic, it said in a statement on Thursday, until Ever Given is freed. Efforts include pulling it with eight tugboats and digging at the ship’s keel with a comically small excavator.
The Suez Canal is a crucial manmade waterway running through Egypt that connects the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, effectively providing a trade route between the East and the West. Before the canal was built, shipments used to sail around the coast of Africa, which now adds up to a week in shipping time. Roughly 12 percent of the world’s trade runs through the canal, and world powers have tried to control the canal throughout history in an effort to influence trade.
The canal has been modernized and expanded over the last 70 years, but it was no match for Ever Given on a windy day.
Here’s some satellite footage of Ever Given, still firmly wedged in place.
And here are some photos of the excavation effort released by the Suez Canal Authority. Onlookers are not particularly optimistic.
With the canal blocked off, meanwhile, shipping companies may resort to circumventing Africa. Reuters reported that A.P. Moller Maersk, the largest shipping container line and vessel operator in the world, is “considering” diverting its less timely goods around Africa, and sending the more time-sensitive cargo via train and airplane.
Twitter users got a laugh out of the antiquated shipping routes.
The canal’s prolonged shutdown could cause “significant disruptions to global trade, skyrocketing shipping rates, further increase of energy commodities, and an uptick in global inflation,” JPMorgan strategist Marko Kolanovic told CNBC.
That being said, you have to admit that the situation is just absurd enough to be funny. Memes about the Suez Canal are dominating social media.
Yeah sex is good but have you ever got your boat stuck in the Suez Canal and blocked 10% of the world’s trade?
— Dr. Parik Patel, BA, CFA, ACCA Esq. 💸 (@ParikPatelCFA) March 25, 2021
my name is Boat
and wen im tired
(but shipping werk
is still required)
then all I want
is lyttle snooze
i turn to side
i blok the Sooz
— Katy / krfabian (@krfabian) March 24, 2021
Billy Joel’s ‘We didn’t start the fire’ really hits this week when you get to the line “TROUBLE IN THE SUEZ”
— Classical Studies Memes for Hellenistic Teens (@CSMFHT) March 25, 2021
Elon Musk is on the scene to resolve the situation in the Suez.
UPDATE: Musk has called the Suez Canal Authority “sus.”
UPDATE: the boat has blown up
— replying “@ArtDecider?” to woman’s selfie (@alexqarbuckle) March 25, 2021
Ever Given remains lodged in the canal, but at least the memes are good.