Egyptian authorities say 'human error' may be to blame for the Suez Canal Ever Given crash after initially attributing it to strong wind

  • Officials initially blamed the giant Ever Given container ship running aground on weather conditions.
  • The Suez Canal Authority chief initially said “strong winds and a dust storm” had caused the blockage.
  • He has now raised the possibility of “technical or human error” as being to blame.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Egyptian authorities suggest the Ever Given ship running aground on Tuesday morning could be due to “human error,” according to MailOnline.

It is a revision of initial claims that blamed environmental factors for the epic Suez Canal jam. Officials initially said that the 1,300-foot-long cargo ship became stuck due to troublesome weather conditions.

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Lieutenant-General Osama Rabie, chair of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said on Tuesday that it probably happened due to “strong winds and a dust storm that obstructed the view,” according to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm. 

But Rabie has since gone back on this assessment. “Strong winds and weather factors were not the main reason,” the SCA chief said on Saturday.

The incident that prompted a global trade blockage may have been caused by “technical or human errors,” he said, the MailOnline reported.

Moments before it ran aground, the Ever Given was apparently traveling faster than a speed limit set by the Suez Canal Authority, Bloomberg reported.

The Ever Given’s last recorded speed was 13.5 knots, logged 12 minutes before it grounded, according to Bloomberg, which cited its own data. The maximum allowed speed through the canal was between 7.6 knots and 8.6 knots, the report said. 

The Japan Times also reported the ship was traveling 13.5 knots, adding that two canal pilots were on board when the ship hit land. 

The Ever Given didn’t have a tugboat escort through the canal, according to Bloomberg. The two ships immediately ahead of it reportedly had escorts, although such escorts were not required. 

One ship captain unaffiliated with the grounding spoke with Bloomberg. Chris Cillard, the captain, told the outlet ships sometimes speed up to better control their vessels during wind storms. “Speeding up to a certain point is effective,” he said.

The massive container ship is still wedged in the Suez Canal, over five days since it first became lodged. 

Workers have made a “significant process” in freeing up the canal and have managed to release the ship’s rudder from the sediment, Insider’s Michelle Mark reported.

The Ever Given’s Suez Canal blockage costs an estimated $400 million per hour, Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis reported.

Rabie said during a Saturday press conference that he couldn’t speculate on when the ship will be re-floated.

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