Suez Canal: Past Fiascos That Caused Maritime Traffic Gridlocks

It’s hoped that the Ever Given, currently stuck in the Suez Canal and causing a massive backlog of ships, will be refloated this weekend. But those who recall the canal’s difficult history know that the current bottleneck nightmare is nothing compared to an eight-year maritime traffic jam for example.

The Ever Given cargo ship operated by Taiwan’s Evergeen Marine company has been blocking the Suez Canal since Tuesday after heavy winds wedged the vessel diagonally across the waterway. 

Nearly 200 ships are now sitting idle on both sides of the artificial waterway waiting to deliver their precious cargo from Europe to Asia and vice versa.

But the crisis has been relatively low-key compared to past fiascos, despite economists estimating that the traffic jam is costing global trade some $400 million per hour. Let’s look back at some of the canal’s bigger disasters. 

1956: The thoroughfare, which was built to shorten shipping routes and completed in 1869, was the subject of conflict when Israel, the UK, and France invaded Egypt in 1956 in what became known as the Suez Crisis. It was prompted by the Western powers’ attempt to regain control of the canal after it was nationalised by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was closed from October 1956 to March 1957, while Egypt retained control of the waterway to this day. 

1967: Hostilities between israel and Egypt continued to surge as Tel Aviv launched a series of preemptive airstrikes against Cairo on 5 June…

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