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Ever Given owners are planning a new attempt to free the ship at high tide on Saturday

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The Taiwanese container ship MV ‘Ever Given’ (Evergreen), a 400-meter-long and 59-meter-wide ship, is stowed on the side and obstructs all traffic on the waterway of the Egyptian Suez Canal March 27, 2021.

AHMAD HASSAN | AFP | Getty Images

The owners of the massive ship blocking the Suez Canal want to get the ship afloat again by Saturday evening, in the hope that a flood and further removal of sediments will finally displace it.

At a press conference on Friday, Yukito Higaki, the president of Shoei Kisen, who owns the Ever Given, said the ship would be freed “tomorrow evening in Japan,” according to a translation by the Nikkei news agency.

“We are working immediately to remove sediment with additional dredging tools,” he added, apologizing for the “major problems and concerns” the incident caused.

Other media reports suggest that at least two attempts will be made on Saturday to free the ship on the expected high tide. If that fails, rescue efforts will be stepped up on Sunday with two more tugs to join the 10 tugs already in operation on site.

March 26, 2021, Egypt, Suez: A boy observes two tugs taking part in the floating operation that is being carried out to free the “Ever Given”.

Image Alliance | Image Alliance | Getty Images

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the Dutch technical manager campaigning for the liberation of Ever Given, said there have been no reports of pollution or cargo damage, and initial investigations rule out mechanical or engine failure as the cause of the grounding.

“All 25 crew members are safe and responsible and they remain in good health and spirits. All crew members are Indian nationals and will remain on board,” BSM said in a statement.

“You are working closely with everyone involved to get the ship going again. The hard work and tireless professionalism of the captain and crew are greatly appreciated.”

The ship, a 220,000-ton mega-ship with a capacity of nearly a quarter mile and a capacity of 20,000 containers, ran aground after reportedly being blown by strong winds as it entered Egypt’s Suez Canal from the Red Sea.

The passage, which is home to up to 12% of the world’s maritime trade and through which 50 container ships normally pass, is completely blocked.

The shipping crisis, now on the fifth day, has heightened concerns about the global supply chain, which has already been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Lloyd’s List, each day the blockade disrupts more than $ 9 billion worth of goods, which is roughly the equivalent of $ 400 million an hour.

Some ship operators have already decided to reroute their ships in Africa in the expectation that the Ever Given will not be displaced anytime soon. According to the canal service provider Leth Agencies, a total of 237 ships are waiting in the Suez Canal area.

Oil and natural gas prices have risen due to the blockade, but some economists believe the effects will be short-lived. “While commodity prices may rise temporarily as freight traffic is disrupted and ships are forced to reroute in Africa, we don’t see any long-term effects. Countries will source raw materials from elsewhere or deplete stocks until the channel is available again,” said the commodities team at Capital Economics on Friday in a research note.

The Taiwanese container ship MV ‘Ever Given’ (Evergreen), a 400-meter-long and 59-meter-wide ship, is stowed on the side and obstructs all traffic on the waterway of the Egyptian Suez Canal March 27, 2021.

AHMAD HASSAN | AFP | Getty Images

– CNBC’s Natasha Turak and Pippa Stevens contributed to this article.

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Katherine Clark