The stranded container ship blocking the Suez Canal for nearly a week was reportedly "refloated" on Monday and was being secured, Inchcape Shipping Services said, raising hopes the busy waterway will soon be reopened.
The Italian-flagged Carlo Magno and the Dutch-flagged Alp Guard were in the Red Sea en route to join over ten other tugboats deployed in the Suez Canal, the ship-tracking websites said.
Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, said workers continued "pulling maneuvers" to refloat the vessel early Monday. Data from shipping expert Lloyd's List says that over 160 vessels are waiting at either end of the canal, including 41 bulk carriers and 24 crude tankers.
A crane that could be used to remove containers from the ship's bow, should that plan fail, has also not yet arrived, according to Boskalis.
The pilot spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorised to brief journalists.
An investigation would be needed to determine whether technical or human errors occurred, the authority added.More news: Australia's Queensland state coronavirus cluster grows to three
However, at least one initial report suggested a "blackout" struck the hulking vessel carrying some 20,000 containers at the time of the incident.
"We wented to state that we are available and ready to help both in towing and dredging", Plakiotakis said, adding that the incident creates a "huge problem".
Asked when they expect to free the vessel and reopen the canal, he said: "I can't say because I do not know". With more than 360 ships waiting to enter the canal, which handles around 10% of worldwide maritime trade, Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered preparations to begin to remove some of the 18,300 containers from the vessel.
"We are consulting with our Egyptian partners about how we can best support their efforts", she said.
Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, the company that owns the vessel, said it is considering removing containers if other refloating efforts fail.
The Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest waterways, is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.More news: COVID-19: BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to begin trials on children, infants
A prolonged closure of the crucial waterway would cause delays in the global shipment chain.
Once the vessel has been cleared, authorities will work to allow traffic to resume through the canal that's a conduit for about 12% of world trade.
The unprecedented shutdown has threatened to disrupt oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Middle East and raised fears of extended delays, good shortages and rising costs for consumers.
Shipping rates for oil product tankers almost doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with Covid-19 restrictions.
The 400-metre Panama-flagged Ever Given ship has been stuck sideways in the Suez since Tuesday morning after it ran out of power, this has meant that more than 200 vessels have been tailing back from the Suez Canal.
Some container ships have already said they would take a 15,000-mile detour around Africa instead.More news: Biden: I plan to run for reelection in 2024
Some maritime firms have chose to divert ships through the Cape of Good Hope, around the African continent.