The Ever Given is sitting in an artificial lake off the Suez Canal while experts work out whether it’s fit to sail – and what to do with its 20,000 containers if it’s not

ever given great bitter lake suez canal march 30
The Ever Given, marked by a large circle, in the Great Bitter Lake on Tuesday.
  • The Ever Given is now in the Great Bitter Lake, part of the Suez Canal, awaiting inspection.
  • Authorities are trying to figure out whether it's fit to sail and what to do with its cargo if not.
  • The 220,000-ton ship is carrying about 20,000 containers.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The recently freed container ship Ever Given is waiting in a lake off the Suez Canal, where authorities are inspecting it for seaworthiness.

The Ever Given, a 220,000-ton, 1,300-foot-long ship, was freed Monday after being grounded in the Suez Canal for six days, blocking the crucial maritime route.

Following its release - thanks to tugboats and dredgers working night and day - it was moved to the Great Bitter Lake, a large body of water that divides the canal into two sections.

The company that leases the ship, Evergreen, wrote in a statement Monday that the vessel would be inspected to see whether it could continue its originally planned journey to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

The Ever Given is capable of carrying 20,000 containers and was fully laden when it got stuck. According to Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, none of them were damaged, Reuters reported.

"The ship was ready for limited navigation after an initial inspection and not a single container was damaged, but a second investigation will be more precise, and if it was affected, it will show," Rabie said.

If the Ever Given cannot sail on, it is unclear what happens next. Transferring its cargo would most likely be an extremely laborious process.

ever given suez canal egypt flag
A man waved an Egyptian flag as the Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, was fully floated in the Suez Canal on Monday.

Many of the ships held up by the Ever Given are also in the Bitter Lake, part of a backlog of some 400 vessels waiting to resume their journeys. Rabie said the backlog would take 3 1/2 days to clear, Reuters reported.

Maritime insurers are readying themselves for an unprecedented volume of claims, Lloyd's List reported. The cost of the delay is estimated to have been about $400 million an hour.

Investigations into the cause of the grounding have begun. The International Maritime Organization has received the ship's Voyage Data Recorder - the ship version of a "black box" - while the Suez Canal Authority is expected to begin its own investigation soon, Lloyd's List reported.

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