Suez Canal: Space images show massive traffic jam in the sea

Satellite images capture a traffic jam in the Red Sea on 25 March 2021, caused by the grounding of a giant container ship in the Suez canal (Credit: Copernicus Sentinel, ESA)

Satellite images have revealed the massive build up of ships waiting for passage through the Suez Canal in Egypt.

A giant cargo ship carrying some 20,000 containers has been stuck in the canal since Tuesday.

It’s not entirely clear how the 400m-long (1,312ft) MV Ever Given ran aground in the canal, but high winds and human error may have played a role.

Pressure has been on to shift the giant ship, which is currently blocking some 10% of the world’s trade.

But efforts to move the vessel, including pulling it with tugboats and digging away at the banks of the canal, have shown little success so far.

Members of the shipping industry fear it could take weeks to move the vessel, which is longer than the canal is wide.

Satellite images from the European Space Agency (above) and aerospace company Airbus (see gallery below) show a massive cluster of ships waiting for entry to the canal.

Desperate shipping companies have begun using alternative routes to deliver their cargo, including around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, as Reuters reports.

News of the stuck ship emerged on Twitter Tuesday evening, when scientists began sharing screenshots from vessel tracking websites.

Social media users have had fun with the vessel’s ill-fated journey, which has already spawned an avalanche of memes.

Eagle-eyed internet users have also noticed the ship’s path to the canal appeared to resemble a penis.

MORE : Massive cargo ship could be stuck across Suez Canal ‘for weeks’

MORE : Suez Canal blocked by enormous cargo ship blown sideways in the wind

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