A massive container ship stuck sideways in Egypt’s Suez Canal has been blocking one of the world’s busiest waterways for over 24 hours, disrupting global trade and launching a tidal wave of memes on social media.
On Tuesday morning local time, the Ever Given, a 1,312-foot-long container ship capable of carrying more than 220,000 tons, was traveling from China to the Netherlands through the canal when Egyptian authorities say a dust storm brought low visibility and heavy winds that caused the ship to run aground.
With the bow of the ship touching the eastern wall of the canal and the stern against the western wall, the vessel completely blocked the waterway, leaving dozens of smaller ships stranded for hours on both sides.
Ever Given’s technical manager Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) said in a statement that all the ship’s crew members are “safe and accounted for” and that “There have been no reports of injuries, pollution or cargo damage.”
Shipping traffic also appears to be moving slowly again; the New York Times reports that the canal authority is diverting ships through an older section of the canal to help ease the backup.
But real-time satellite imagery from the online shipping tracker Vessel Finder showed the Ever Given still lodged firmly in the narrow channel as of late Wednesday.