Why is VLCS Ever Given Anchored Great Bitter Lake?

I don’t know the make up of the banks of the Suez. It could be, though. Even with the soft bottom that we have here in Galveston Bay, we would still always require some kind of bottom survey/exam after any reported grounding, mild or not.

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This was reported on 31 Mar.

CAIRO — Divers inspected the underside of a colossal container ship that had blocked the Suez Canal, spotting some damage to the bow but not enough to take it out of service, officials said Wednesday.

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This is from gCaptain’s own March 26 update. A quote from Salvors:

“Arrangements are also being made for high-capacity pumps to reduce the water levels in the forward void space of the vessel and the bow thruster room.Editor’s Note: We reached out to BSM and they have confirmed some water ingress i.e. flooding, limited to those spaces.

I saw that. Any time “Extra pumps” are brought in shows a problem. Ship did not get away “Clean”. Hitting a bank at twelve plus knots will result in damage.


Which is why you splash divers/sound spaces and internally survey. . . .

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According to AIS she is still anchored in the lake. That’s a lot of $$$$ cargo to leave stranded on the hook.

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Did it really hit the bank at 12+ kts? Given the depths on that side of the canal wouldn’t the ship have run aground before reaching the bank? Seem like grounding would have slowed the ship more gradually than just hitting the bank.

Plus maybe some energy dissapated on the shallows forward as the stern slewed to port.

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Well, of course you would slow down while going aground. She was hauling ass, and making 12 plus knots before hitting the bank that “slowed her down to a sudden stop” Bank effect was in play on both sides of the channel well before she grounded. That last dive from Stbd to Port clearly showed bank effect. Am sure what few bunks were occupied were emptied in short order. Interesting that the other ships in the convoy maintained control.

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It’s common that incidents like this have more than one cause. Wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out one or more errors were made in the wheelhouse.

Not much margin for error on a ship that size in a narrow channel with gusting winds.

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No disagreement here.

The AIS-signals are not as detailed as the VDR-data, but during the same time-minute of 06:41:

  • between the red-green buoys at ‘KM151’, when the ship was leaving the fairway eastwards:
    12.2 knots, course 15°, latitude 30.01602°

  • when the bow became stuck at NE:
    8.8 knots, course 18°, latitude 30.01742

  • the last point to NW, when the bow was stuck, the stern was continuing to N and the GPS on top of the bridge moved to NW at 0.9 knots

Hence, the vessel went from 12.2 knots to 8.8 knots within a distance of 155 meter.
A lot of energy to transform… and there was much more to come.


IDK if the ship was damaged or not, not enough info. Call it 50/50.

But this seems like the kind situation where more information makes peoples estimates worse not better. Like the bank teller problem.

But we do know ULCS Al Zubara went aground in Dec of last year and was pulled off after 6 hours with no damage. So the odds change a bit for no damage. Plus the payoff for the contrarian view here is higher.

On the technical side the big unknow factor is the amount of area of the ship that absorbed the energy of the grounding.

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Yes, my ‘reconstruction’ shows only the speed diminution of the GPS-antenna over 150 meters.

Only the complete VDR-data, each second, could possibly lead to a reconstruction of the forces acting on the bow; the course of the antenna is not enough, the ship’s heading is even more important.
When the bow was firmly stuck and the stern was still advancing northerly, there must have been strong torque forces on the bow section…


Yes, 266.000 ton weight of the ship with a divided leverage of max 400 meters with quite some speed although going down in time. Leverage law at work. It’s a wonder that the bulb wasn’t wrenched off…

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Consider that the stern was in deep enough that it had to be dug out with dredges yet the ship went to Great Bitter Lake under it’s own power. Prop and rudder are the most vulnerable part of the hull underwater yet little or no damage.

A difference is that the bow, moving with the full ship’s speed, dug deep into the canal’s sandy bottom, cut into it so to speak, while the stern continued, pushed on by the ship’s inertia mass, until the stern, rudder and propellor were stopped, not head on but sideways, by the other shore with less impact. That could explain why there was seemingly no damage aft.

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The chairman Rabie of the Suez Canal Authority has suggested a possible mistake by the captain of the container ship as the reason why the massive vessel became stuck in the vital international waterway in late March. Rabie also dismissed strong winds as the main reason for the incident.

“Maybe the captain made a mistake in a specific (operation) request, such as the rudder or speed, which could have led to that,” Osama Rabie said in a recent interview, in reference to the skipper of the 400-meter-long, 220,000-ton Ever Given. As if he had been there. An obvious matter of framing captain Scapegoat.

Even though a Suez Canal Authority guide was aboard the Ever Given, Rabie said the authority bears no responsibility for the incident, which he has estimated could incur more than $1 billion in damages.


The Ever Given was declared suitable for onward passage from the Great Bitter Lake to Port Said, where she would be assessed again before departing for Rotterdam. The technical manager, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), has confirmed that extensive inspections from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), the vessel’s classification society, which included underwater inspections have been concluded.

12 knots is a slow bell on this class of ships. Dead slow would be around 8.5+