The Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest and most important waterways, has been gridlocked since Tuesday morning local time after a giant container ship ran aground in the canal.
Photos shared on social media showed Ever Given, a quarter-mile-long vessel carrying hundreds of containers from China to Rotterdam, stuck lengthways across the waterway. Attempts to refloat the enormous ship have failed.
The stuck ship ― which is as long as New York’s Empire State Building is tall ― has led to a “pileup of at least 100 vessels” awaiting passage through the Egyptian canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean, Bloomberg reported.
Julianne Cona, who, according to The Guardian, was aboard another ship in the canal when the incident occurred, posted a photo of the grounded Ever Given on Instagram and lamented in a caption that “we might be here for a little bit.”
As of early Wednesday Cairo time, the waterway remained blocked by the huge vessel.
Ships typically travel in convoys along the Suez Canal.
The Ever Given, which is owned by Evergreen, a Taiwanese shipping company, had been traveling in a northbound convoy when it “suffered a black out,” shipping agent GAC said in a report. The term refers to a complete power failure aboard a vessel, which brings it to a standstill.
Alok Roy, fleet director of BSM Hong Kong, Ever Given’s ship manager, told Bloomberg that no injuries or pollution had been reported from the grounding.
Oil prices were affected by the incident, however. The Suez Canal is a critical trading route for crude oil, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas ― and many of the vessels stuck in the traffic jam are carrying these products.