Ever Given container ship finally freed from blockage at Suez Canal

A giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week has been freed after a huge 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 20:00 local time (18:00 GMT), officials say. Hundreds of ships are waiting to pass.

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.

Salvage teams had faced a daunting challenge after the 200,000-tonne ship ran aground last Tuesday morning in high winds and a sandstorm which reduced visibility.

Boskalis sent in a specialist salvage team, SMIT Salvage Papendrecht, and 11 harbour tugs and two powerful seagoing tugs were deployed.

Dredgers were brought in to dig mud and sand from beneath the ends of the ship, removing 30,000 cubic metres of sand.