“We pulled it off!” said a news release from Dutch salvage company Boskalis, which had been hired to assist with the operation.
“Egyptians have succeeded today in ending the crisis of the stranded ship in the Suez Canal,” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi said in a statement earlier Monday.
He portrayed the efforts as a patriotic victory that assured the world that Egypt could be trusted with overseeing the 13 percent of all global trade that passes through the crucial waterway.
A fleet of tugboats worked through the night to take advantage of a full moon that led to the highest tide all month, helping to lift the boat. As of Monday morning, the Ever Given had been 80 percent refloated, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement.
Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, the chief of the Suez Canal Authority, commended workers for achieving this “heroic feat” and performing “their patriotic duty impeccably.”
The Ever Given, he added in the statement, would sail to the Bitter Lakes section, roughly midpoint on the canal, for a technical inspection.
Heavy winds swung the boat back into its previous position blocking the canal on Monday afternoon, though it did not become regrounded, according to Reuters.
Billions of dollars in trade have been lost each day from the grounding of the carrier, one of the largest container ships in the world. As of Monday morning, 367 vessels were trapped in a massive maritime traffic jam in the canal, according to Leth Agencies.
Monday’s turnaround came after a series of delays, over several days, that were due to technical and weather challenges preventing the extraction of the mammoth vessel from the sand and mud of the canal. A flotilla of tugboats pulled at the ship as dredgers dug up more than 27,000 cubic feet of sand around the vessel to a depth of about 60 feet.
In the midst of these efforts, Sissi ordered preparations for another option: unloading as many of the towering ship’s 18,000 containers as needed to make it refloat again. That could have taken days, even weeks, because it would require bringing in large cranes and specialized helicopters, according to analysts.
With no clear indication of when the canal will reopen, shipping companies had been directing vessels around the southern tip of Africa, adding a week or two to their journeys and driving up fuel costs.
Over the weekend, Syria announced that it had begun rationing diesel and gasoline because of the blockage. There have also been port and transit delays in many parts of the world while the oil trade has been disrupted, according to an analysis by Lloyd’s List, a shipping journal.
Mahfouz reported from Cairo. Farzan reported from Providence, R.I.