The ship stuck in the Suez Canal

A container ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal has created a huge backlog of shipping traffic.

The ship is 1312 feet long and the portion of the canal it was going through was only about 1000 feet wide so it was essential that it go really straight. But it appears that due to high winds and poor visibility due to a sand storm, it did not and got wedged. Now it requires over 700,000 cu. ft of sand to be removed from the bank to free the ship.

I have sailed through the Suez Canal on an ocean liner twice when I was a young boy, going from England to Sri Lanka. I still remember the weird feeling it generated because in certain sections, the canal was so very narrow that when you looked at the two sides of the ship from somewhere in the interior, you would see just the desert on either side moving past, so you had the illusion that the ship was traveling on land. You had to go to the railing and look over to see water below.


  1. Bob Gotsch says

    That’s not the way to view the canal. Book a tour. Visit Cairo. Visit the pyramids on a camel. Meet the ship at the other end.

  2. blf says

    The ship is 1312 feet long and the portion of the canal it was going through was only about 1000 feet wide

    Eh? From the photograph alone that cannot be correct, the canal is obviously much narrower than the ship is long. Eyeballing it, my initial guess would be the canal’s width at that point is perhaps one half of the ship’s length, perhaps less.

    Checking, various sources, such as How big is the boat stuck in the Suez canal?, put the ship at (roughly) 400m long, 60m wide, and the canal — at that point — about 200m wide. Those sort of numbers — or at least their proportions — do seem to “fit” with the photograph.

  3. Holms says

    #2 blf
    This is probably the result of writers dumbing things down with rounding after converting between feet and meters.

  4. Dunc says

    I’ve been saying for years that if terrorists really wanted to cause some trouble, they should scuttle an oil tanker or large container ship in the Suez Canal, and here somebody goes and does it by accident…

    Most people do not really appreciate either the importance or the vulnerability of global shipping. This incident is going to have repercussions for months, even if they manage to refloat it soon.

  5. says

    What those dimensions say is that ships in the canal are all within small arms range of both banks. Anyone with an RPG can shut down the canal.

    I’ve got to go run to the store and buy a supply of toilet paper.

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