A huge container ship that has been stuck across the Suez Canal for almost a week has been freed from the shoreline, officials say.
The course of the 400m-long (1,300ft) Ever Given has been corrected by 80%, according to the Suez Canal Authority. It added that further efforts to move the boat would resume later on Monday. The Ever Given has been blocking one of the world’s busiest trade routes, forcing companies to reroute ships and causing long tailbacks.
The reports that the ship had been freed raised hopes that traffic along the canal could resume within hours, clearing the way for an estimated $9.6bn (£7bn) of goods that is being held up each day. Rescue workers from the authority and the Dutch company Smit Salvage used tug boats to wrench the ship from the canal bank, Reuters news agency reported.
The stern of the ship, which had been four metres from the shore, was now 102m clear, the Suez Canal Authority said. It added that efforts to fully refloat the boat had begun.
Efforts to move the boat would resume at 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT) once the tide rises, officials said. Traffic would resume once the ship is moved to a waiting area in a wider section of the canal, the authority said. A total of 367 vessels are waiting to pass through.
The 200,000-tonne Ever Given ran aground on Tuesday morning amid high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. Specialist salvage companies were brought in to help refloat the ship.
On Sunday, canal officials began preparing to remove some of roughly 20,000 containers on board in order to lighten the load.
The canal, which separates Africa from the Middle East and Asia, is one of the busiest trade routes in the world with about 12% of total global trade moving through it. It provides the shortest link between Asia and Europe.
An alternative route, around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, can take two weeks longer.