25 Mar 2021

Ship grounding blocks Suez Canal, causes chaos for world shipping

From Morning Report, 7:52 am on 25 March 2021

The world's most important shipping canal is blocked.

The Suez Canal is the most important shipping artery in the world, with more than NZ$4 billion worth of seaborne trade traversing it every day.

It has found itself in a jam after a super-large cargo vessel was knocked off course by strong winds yesterday, and a flotilla of tugboats are trying to pull it back into line.

Meanwhile, a queue has formed in both directions, with dozens of container ships and oil and gas tankers spilling out into the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

The only alternative route between Asia and Europe is a 12-week jaunt around the Horn of Africa.

Cairo correspondent Sally Nabil spoke to Susie Ferguson.