A supermoon played a crucial role in freeing the Ever Given from the Suez Canal, boosting the tide so it was easier to move

super Worm moon super moon
A supermoon.
  • The Ever Given was freed from the Suez Canal on Monday thanks in part to a supermoon.
  • The phenomenon occurs when the moon orbits closer to earth, increasing its pull on the seas.
  • One came on Sunday, leading to a "spring tide" that increased water levels during the operation.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A supermoon helped dislodge the Ever Given container ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal, raising the tides with its gravitational pull.

The Ever Given was finally freed on Monday, after 6 days blocking the Suez canal and backing up international transport.

Much of the work was done by humans and their heavy machinery - like tugboats and the powerful Mashhour dredging ship that moved vast quantities of sand away from the ship's full.

But it may not have worked if the heavens hadn't been aligned.

Noon tides were unusually high on Monday because they coincided with a full moon. Insider's Kevin Shalvey noted the expected high waters while the operation was underway.

Tides are at their highest when the moon is full, or there is a new moon.

Tide Forecast Suez Canal Spring Tide
Suez Canal tides from March 27 to April 4.

On such days, the sun, moon and earth are aligned, pulling the tides in one direction and increasing the water's movement.

These are called "Spring" of "King Tides", and they happen twice a month.

Spring Tide Graphic NOAA
Spring tides occur with the arrival of a new or full moon.

Sunday night's full moon also happened to be the worm moon, the first full moon in March. By some definitions, it also counted as a supermoon.

A supermoon happens when the moon is full while its orbit is closest to the Earth. It is characterised by being brighter and larger than other full moons.

The Moon orbits the Earth in an oval shape. At its farthest point, it is about 253,000 miles from the Earth. At its closest to the Earth, it is about 30,000 miles nearer.

The full moon that helped the boat escape was on March 28. The moon was even closer on March 30, according to EarthSky.org.

That was a day after the moon and tide that helped free the Ever Given, but it is common to refer to several consecutive nights' worth of moons as being supermoons.

The teams working to free the Ever Given knew this would come, and noted in advance that tides were due to rise an extra foot and a half, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Suez Canal reopened after the Ever Given was freed, enabling shipping via the channel to resume.

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