Breaking News: Suez Canal blocked by a mega-sized container vessel [Cleared]

This happened this morning, and holy cow, this thing is WEDGED.

I was thinking of cracking a joke about how the captain couldn’t be bothered to get directions, but having the Suez blocked is pretty significant.

And, of course, my paranoia is whispering to me (it’s not a clinical paranoia, just my brain being able to conceive of evil scenarios) that this is not a case of sometimes shit happens, it’s a case of someone deliberately blocking the canal and the ship is actually a really HUGE floating bomb and someone is just waiting for the maximum number of emergency personnel and equipment to show up before making things go BOOM. (There’s always a BOOM tomorrow.)

Someone talk me down from the paranoia?

And if anyone has ideas about how this happened in the first place or how they might be able to unwedge the ship, I’m interested.

Oh, yeah, and if my paranoid scenario were true (instead of just my wildly overactive imagination), how big a crater would a bomb that size make, and how long would it take to repair the Suez Canal? Or would they have to dig a new one?

Good image of it here on twitter:

Hah! I was about to post the same image.

That’s … something, isn’t it? There is just no room for it to do the ol’ back and forth wiggle.

If this were Star Trek, they’d just reverse the flow of the current.

Easy there, Tex. If your goal is a terrorist attack on the Suez canal, you don’t have to wait for “the maximum number of emergency personnel and equipment to show up.” You don’t even have to stall the vessel. You just wait for the vessel to reach the most strategic choke point and blow it up right then.

Can’t they use tugboats to move it so it’s parallel to the canal?

Apparently, this is not the first incident this specific ship has been involved with:

(It’s German, but the gist is that this ship managed to push an unladen ferry into the jetty it was moored at.)

That’s my thought. They’ll have to get tugboats to deal with it now that it is refloated.

If I read the story right, they’ve had every spare tugboat doing that for hours now, with no results.

Vessel Finder shows no fewer than eight tugs on the thing right now (zoom in).

From that image, it looks like there are roads on both sides of the canal. A crane on each side pulling the stern and bow in opposite directions seems the obvious solution.

As I understand it, the Suez Canal is just a ditch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. There aren’t any locks to change levels and control the water flow, or which could be damaged by sabotage. While blowing up a ship in the canal would not be trivial, the fix might be as simple as removing the debris and dredging to the required depth.

Perhaps it’s just a long, slow process of moving the ship in the right direction, so that the issue will be resolved in a day or so.

This reminds me of a scene from the first Austin Powers movie:

That’s been posted multiple times in the Twitter thread I found this story in.

Just to be clear, I do not actually think this is a terrorist plot. It’s just that every now and again my brain likes to serve up what-if scenarios that are, at best, somewhat plausible but not at all likely.

I don’t know much about boats and less about cranes, but wouldn’t you need a pretty massive crane for that? These ships are huge.

Would it make things any easier to unload the ship, so it floats higher?

As for the deliberate plot idea, it just might be doing more damage by being stuck there than it would by blowing up.

I didn’t know Francesco Schettino was working again.

They wouldn’t be lifting the ship; just straightening it out.

A)That’s neat.
B)How many ships are normally waiting to get through. Granted it’s only been a few hours and those things don’t exactly move all that fast, but there’s a whole lot of them sitting on either side. But maybe that’s normal.