The stranded container ship is seen finally on the move and no longer blocking the canal
A giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week has finally been freed after a mammoth salvage operation.
Tug boats honked their horns in celebration as the 400m-long (1,300ft) Ever Given was dislodged on Monday.
Traffic is set to resume in both directions through the canal at 19:00 local time (17:00 GMT), according to local authorities.
Hundreds of ships are waiting to pass through.
Suez, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea through Egypt, is one of the world’s busiest trade routes.
Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch salvage company Boskalis, said the Ever Given had been refloated at 15:05 (13:05 GMT) on Monday, “thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again”.
The vessel was being towed for safety checks to Great Bitter Lake, which sits between two sections of the canal to the north of where the ship got stuck.
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi thanked Egyptians for their efforts in “ending the crisis” in the canal.
Disruption to global trade will not end with the refloating of the Ever Given. According to Lloyd’s List, there are currently more than 370 ships waiting to pass through the canal, including container vessels, tankers, and bulk carriers. Clearing that backlog is expected to take several days.
Some ships have already left the region, preferring to take an alternative, longer route around the southern tip of Africa. They will be joined by other vessels travelling from East Asia to Europe – whose operators have decided not to risk waiting for the canal to reopen.
Inevitably, cargoes will be reaching their destination much later than planned. There may be congestion when they arrive in port, while future sailing schedules have been thrown into disarray.