One of the world’s largest cargo container ships has been set free after turning sideways and blocking the Suez Canal, signalling the end of a saga that has significantly disrupted the global shipping system.
Its operators, Evergreen Marine, suspect that it was “hit by a sudden wind, causing the hull to deviate... and accidentally hit the bottom.”
Tugboats and dredgers were deployed to undergo the painstaking operation of trying to free the ship, in a David vs. Goliath-style feat. On Monday morning, it was confirmed that she had finally been “partially refloated”. Later, the Suez Canal service firm said the massive container ship had been set free and was on the move.
Inevitably, from the moment the crisis first emerged, social media users rushed to turn it into a wide range of memes. Here, we’ve compiled 35 of the best.
“Whatever you did today, whatever your shortcomings... you did not block the Suez Canal* with your gigantic boat,” wrote one Twitter user on Wednesday, hours after the ship got stuck.
*Unless of course, you’re the captain of Ever Given. In which case, well-- things happen.”
Another tweeted: “Keeping an eye on the Suez Canal incident has shown me that no matter how bad my day is, halting global trade during a pandemic by parallel parking my 50,000-ton cargo ship in a tiny canal probably has some guy feeling a tad worse.”
And another commented: “You may have had a bad day today but have you blocked the Suez Canal today level of bad day?”
One person imagined the trepidation of the next boat crew to pass through the canal
Football pundit Gary Lineker seized on it as a metaphor for Tottenham Hotspur FC’s defence:
And one company used it for an advert for their “service quality management platform”:
Other users created colourful memes and GIFs to imagine the situation on the ground:
While others empathised with a small digger that can be made out by zooming in on the image:
Former traffic reporter Jon Hansen briefly returned to the job to give everyone an update:
When was the last time South Africa’s coast saw this much action?
America just couldn’t let someone else have any of the attention, could it?
Once it was confirmed that the ship had been wrenched free, people began to lament the loss of their new friend.
For almost a week, the Ever Given blocked transit in both directions through one of the world’s busiest shipping channels for goods, oil, grain and other products linking Asia and Europe.
In the early hours of Monday, authorities announced that the ship had been partially refloated. This followed intensive efforts to push and pull her with 15 tugboats when the full moon brought spring tide, raising the canal’s water level.
Videos shared widely on social media showed tugboats in the canal sounding their horns in celebration of the monster vessel being partly wrenched from the shore:
After hauling the fully laden 220,000-ton giant over the canal bank, the salvage team began pulling her towards the Great Bitter Lake – a wide stretch of water halfway between the north and south end of the canal – to undergo technical inspections.
Satellite data from MarineTraffic.com confirmed the ship was moving away from the shoreline toward the centre of the artery.
The obstruction of the crucial waterway held up $9 billion in global trade each day and strained supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds of vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, were forced to wait to pass through the canal, while dozens had decided to take the alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip, adding some two weeks to journeys and threatening delivery delays.
The ship, which can carry some 20,000 containers at a time, had listed its destination as Rotterdam in the Netherlands prior to getting stuck.
One thing remains clear: the Dutch aren’t the only ones who are going to have to keep waiting for their delivery.