It's stuck
March 23, 2021 3:54 PM   Subscribe

A 200,000 ton container ship is jammed sideways in the Suez Canal. A crew member on the ship behind has posted the view on Instagram of the MV Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in existence, stuck firmly across the canal. An excavator can be seen trying to dig the colossal bow of the 400m ship out of the east bank. Every available tug has been scrambled to assist, but it's now been several hours and the ship remains firmly stuck. AIS tracking data shows a traffic jam is forming at both ends of the Suez canal. Unless the stricken vessel can be freed, millions of tonnes of shipping will face a 5,500 mile diversion around the entire African continent.
posted by automatronic (580 comments total) 84 users marked this as a favorite
 
That dude is soooooo fired.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:58 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


LOL.

I love the photo of the earth mover/shovel absurdly dwarfed by the prow.
posted by latkes at 4:02 PM on March 23 [19 favorites]


Ha, the name of the ship is Evergreen.
posted by Beholder at 4:02 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


I guess they hadn't heard 2020 was over.
posted by skippyhacker at 4:03 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


Came for the Austin Powers references, left satisfied.

Does anybody know HOW this managed to happen?
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:07 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


It's just been a great year to work in supply chain management. I know I don't have parts going through this canal, but I do know this is probably going to have some kind of ripple effect on my shipments out of Europe, which are already hopelessly fucked up enough as it is.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:07 PM on March 23 [43 favorites]


Ha, the name of the ship is Evergreen.
The ship is the Ever Given, the operator is Evergreen Marine.
posted by miguelcervantes at 4:08 PM on March 23 [23 favorites]


I need to know absolutely everything about how this happened. Reaaallly excited for this to delay already poor supply lines of it isn't fixed quickly.
posted by Braeburn at 4:13 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


I'm confused. The name on the side looks like "EVERGREEN" to me, but the AIS data calls it Ever Given?
posted by inexorably_forward at 4:14 PM on March 23


Whoops, never mind, hadn't read the other comments!
posted by inexorably_forward at 4:15 PM on March 23


Jams happen sometimes. Open the front cover and flip the lever, then simply pull out the jammed container ship. Be careful not to burn your hand.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:18 PM on March 23 [38 favorites]


copy that
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:24 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


Have they called Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency yet?
posted by adrianhon at 4:25 PM on March 23 [30 favorites]


Pivot!
posted by kirkaracha at 4:29 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


Pivot!!

(On preview: omg, jinx!)
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:30 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


Man, you think trying to parallel park on the street when you’re out of practice is embarrassing
posted by Countess Elena at 4:32 PM on March 23 [27 favorites]


In which I realize that I really am never going to get that new nVidia GPU. I don't understand how my getting an RTX 3080 triggers a temporal paradox, but apparently Novikov's Self-Consistency Principle requires that I not have one, and I feel like if I keep pushing eventually the Large Hadron Collider turns the planet into a black hole to keep the timeline straight.

So I'll stop. You're welcome, everyone. I'm sorry it took fucking up the Suez Canal for me to finally accept this.
posted by Ryvar at 4:34 PM on March 23 [41 favorites]


Just coming over to post this. What a mess!
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:36 PM on March 23


it's one of the wonders of our modern civilization - it only takes one fool to fuck things up for everyone
posted by pyramid termite at 4:36 PM on March 23 [17 favorites]


I can't wait to hear Elon Musk's late-night twitter idea about how to fix this.
posted by allegedly at 4:39 PM on March 23 [49 favorites]


Martin Brody: we're going to need a bigger canal.
posted by GuyZero at 4:42 PM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Finally, a use for those 50 gallon drums of lube they sell on Amazon.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:43 PM on March 23 [51 favorites]


I suspect those 17 packs of postcards I ordered from China are in this photo.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:46 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


We're gonna need a bigger shark.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:46 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


That dude is soooooo fired.

Turns out that ship is one size bigger than the biggest ships that are supposed to go through the canal, too. So regardless of whether this was operator error, who goofed up their transit, whatever, the person who really deserves blame is whoever looked at the size limits and said, "Screw it, send this ship anyway."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:48 PM on March 23 [35 favorites]


I thought I had a really good joke ready based on the "a man, a plan, a canal, panama" palindrome. But then I realized it was the Suez Canal, not the Panama Canal. God damn it....

edit: Just realized Suez is a palindrome to Zeus. Not sure that helps me...but I'm working on it....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 4:49 PM on March 23 [45 favorites]


This is the kind of nerd excitement i like to see on the internet. Feels like if we were all a big small town and all the kids are going to run down by the harbor to watch.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:50 PM on March 23 [64 favorites]


I have no idea how this happened, but I'm trying to imagine scenarios... apparently the Suez Canal is subject to a tidal current. Maybe nobody was minding the wheel and they started to drift?
posted by spudsilo at 4:53 PM on March 23


It's interesting to note that if you look at the track for the Ever Given before it entered the canal, it took the time to draw... well... what looks like the average graffiti rendering of a penis. Entirely possible that it's just the bored GPS doodle of a captain waiting his turn to enter the canal, or even just random loops and some pareidolia - but it makes one wonder, doesn't it?

(Go to the vesselfinder.com link and click the "Track" icon under the ship photo to see for yourself, or there are a couple of screenshots from different sources in the twitter thread.)
posted by m2ke at 4:54 PM on March 23 [9 favorites]


This is the trouble in the Suez foretold by the great prophet Joel.
posted by dr_dank at 4:54 PM on March 23 [20 favorites]


If my shit from Aliexpress doesn't arrive in 90 days, as promised, I'm demanding my $5.27 back.
posted by krisjohn at 4:55 PM on March 23 [22 favorites]


Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:56 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


The same container ship allided with Berthed Ferry "Finkenwerder" in Hamburg in 2019.

Days since last accident: 0
posted by Lanark at 4:57 PM on March 23 [16 favorites]


I felt a great disturbance on the internet, as if millions of logistics managers suddenly cried out in sheer frustration and then fell silent. I fear something terrible has happened.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:57 PM on March 23 [54 favorites]


Wait, can we use this to figure out what's on the ship? And if it turns out it's 8,000 tonnes of yellow rubber duckies, perhaps they can just dynamite it like that whale in Oregon and spread joy to children across Egypt?

Just spitballing, here.
posted by gwint at 4:58 PM on March 23 [16 favorites]


I thought I had a really good joke ready based on the "a man, a plan, a canal, panama" palindrome. But then I realized it was the Suez Canal, not the Panama Canal. God damn it....

Zeus: No on Suez.
posted by automatronic at 4:59 PM on March 23 [107 favorites]


Is it appropriate to say "Ship of fools" ?
posted by mightshould at 5:00 PM on March 23


This makes me think of the videos of the 11 foot 8 inches bridge clearance where all the trucks ignore the warnings and get peeled open or stuck.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 5:01 PM on March 23 [17 favorites]


I saw this on my TL earlier, didn't look too closely, and assumed it was another piece of sci-fi concept art.
posted by rodlymight at 5:03 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


That does look decidedly like a penis. Anyone know why the tracking data only starts there?
posted by macrael at 5:06 PM on March 23


Turns out that ship is one size bigger than the biggest ships that are supposed to go through the canal, too.

The person who posted the photo also said that she thought this was the ship that “cut them off” (however you do that at that scale) on their way into the canal. Over/under on there was alcohol involved?
posted by Silvery Fish at 5:08 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


I thought I had a really good joke ready based on the "a man, a plan, a canal, panama" palindrome. But then I realized it was the Suez Canal, not the Panama Canal. God damn it....

Just switch it up to "a muez, a pluez, a canuez, suez." It'll be fiiiiiine.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:08 PM on March 23 [37 favorites]


There's a stone in the sphincter of the Red Sea.
posted by y2karl at 5:10 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Where is the MV NO FUCKS in all this?
posted by joeyh at 5:11 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


What if we kissed while blocking the Suez Canal?
posted by SansPoint at 5:17 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Just based on the transit fees for all the vessels that have been delayed (average $700,000 each) this has already cost around $50 million
posted by Lanark at 5:21 PM on March 23 [13 favorites]


Someone is getting sue-ezed over this.
posted by brundlefly at 5:23 PM on March 23 [15 favorites]




I have no idea how this happened, but I'm trying to imagine scenarios...

I think what you're trying to say is that this is one of the strangest sights you've seen in some time, and you have no idea how these people got their boats wedged into their canals, or why.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:24 PM on March 23 [106 favorites]


There's got to be a lot of cameras on that thing now given the strategic importance of the canal. I mean I'm sure there are all sorts of interested parties / governments monitoring it by satellite imagery in case its not an accident but an intentional blockage etc.

Which is all to say, given how many eyes are on it, someone in the crew needs to be doing their best Rose and Jack "I'm Flying" reenactment on the bow right now...or a golden opportunity has been wasted.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:29 PM on March 23 [10 favorites]


Am wondering - does the Suez Canal require a pilot? I believe you can't take a ship through the Panama Canal without one of their pilots steering. And what an absolutely incredible mess. That twitter thread is just amazing!
posted by leslies at 5:33 PM on March 23 [9 favorites]


FLUSH IT
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:34 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Ever given, never received
posted by Going To Maine at 5:35 PM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Pretty sure pilots are required for the Suez transit.
posted by wierdo at 5:35 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]




That's a ton of tonnage.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:39 PM on March 23


For those who don't know, shipping from the far east has been borked for a few months. The pandemic has meant that empty containers and empty ships haven't been making their way back fast enough, and the result has been prices 300-400% higher than usual--at its peak we were being quoted $11000 to ship a 40' container from China to Europe.

Prices have started to come down now, a bit ($8600 was the figure that crossed my desk today) and there were sighs of relief and hopes that things would be, well, if not exactly normal then at least heading that way. And now this. I can't check the records till morning, but there is a non-zero chance that we have a container on the Evergreen.
posted by Hogshead at 5:40 PM on March 23 [53 favorites]


I suspect those 17 packs of postcards I ordered from China are in this photo.

I have a car coming from Germany that's going through the Panama Canal and then docking in San Diego (god willing) middle of April, and while tracking the ship using the same website you used, seems like every square mile of the ocean looks exactly like that. I'm not sure you can tell by looking at these maps that anything is backed up. It just always looks like that.

Also, if you want so see where you late stuff from China is, just take a trip down to Huntington Beach. You can see just lines of container ships anchored in the shallow water, waiting for their slot to unload at Long Beach and San Pedro.
posted by sideshow at 5:41 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


This past year has been an excellent education in all the single points of failure that can cause our society to come to a screeching halt, huh.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:41 PM on March 23 [70 favorites]


all the single points of failure

I don't know what's more unsettling, that there are so many single points of failure out there or that there are likely many more that I'm just not aware of.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:45 PM on March 23 [29 favorites]


"There is no such thing as a ship that's too large, only a canal that's too small"
posted by Seaweed Shark at 5:45 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


The pandemic has meant that empty containers and empty ships haven't been making their way back fast enough, and the result has been prices 300-400% higher than usual--at its peak we were being quoted $11000 to ship a 40' container from China to Europe.

Prices have started to come down now, a bit ($8600 was the figure that crossed my desk today) and there were sighs of relief and hopes that things would be, well, if not exactly normal then at least heading that way. And now this


There wouldn't happen to be a futures market in shipping fees would there, Hogshead?
posted by jamjam at 5:47 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


if you look at the track for the Ever Given before it entered the canal, it took the time to draw... well... what looks like the average graffiti rendering of a penis
I thought it was maybe a coincidence, but on inspection: that's a penis (.gif)

I have no idea how this happened, but I'm trying to imagine scenarios...
I'd like to think that it started with the pilot saying, "If you two don't shut up, so help me, I am going to turn this thing around!"
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:49 PM on March 23 [16 favorites]


There are tidal effects but the canal isn’t moving, they had a pilot, and they didn’t just brush against the canal walls. They managed to apply enough power that they got stuck. How likely is it that this wasn’t intentional?
posted by rdr at 5:49 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


There once was a ship that put to sea
The name of the ship was the Ever Given
The winds blew up, her bow dipped mud
O dig, my digger boys, dig (Huh!)

[Chorus]
Soon may the Backhoe come
To bring us fathoms and sea and room
One day, when the tonguin' is done
We'll take our containers and go
posted by nickggully at 5:52 PM on March 23 [44 favorites]


Came to the thread for the Wellerman filk; left satisfied.
posted by sourcequench at 6:02 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


There wouldn't happen to be a futures market in shipping fees would there, Hogshead?

Sure are.

Definitely not for the diamond hands crowd, however.
posted by sideshow at 6:02 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


I don't know what's more unsettling, that there are so many single points of failure out there or that there are likely many more that I'm just not aware of.

The ocean floor through the Suez Canal is a route for a great many undersea data cables, especially some of the more important ones linking EMEA with APAC. From time to time a ship will drag its anchor in the wrong spot and cause no end of trouble.
posted by traveler_ at 6:03 PM on March 23 [14 favorites]


This is the trouble in the Suez foretold by the great prophet Joel.

Thought this was "trouble in the sewers"

Now I don't know what to think
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:15 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Is there a parallel term to schadenfreude where, rather than feeling good because someone else is feeling bad, you're experiencing a sort of sympathetic, gleeful fatalism upon observing the entropy of the universe?

Or is the word for that just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:18 PM on March 23 [28 favorites]


I read a lot of marine accident reports. I will be eagerly awaiting this one.

My wild guess would be some failure in the hydraulics driving the rudders, or the systems controlling them. If the rudder went hard over unintentionally this outcome would happen very quickly in a narrow space like that, even at low speed.

200,000 tons has a shitload of momentum, even if you could stop the engine or put it astern immediately - which you can't on a big ship like that. Big machinery takes time to change speeds. The crankshaft alone probably weighs 200-300 tons. The cylinders are the height of a building.
posted by automatronic at 6:20 PM on March 23 [49 favorites]


Man, you think trying to parallel park on the street when you’re out of practice is embarrassing

one time I slid while taking a right turn & my small car got stuck on a pile of snow that had built up between the incoming right turn lane & the incoming straight lanes, like stuck on top, all four tires dangling uselessly in the air, obstructing traffic, until a trio of burly saviors physically lifted it off & set it back on the road

this canal thing makes me feel way better about that in comparison
posted by taquito sunrise at 6:23 PM on March 23 [53 favorites]


This past year has been an excellent education in all the single points of failure that can cause our society to come to a screeching halt, huh.

Have you heard about the global steel shortage? That's another thing that's making this year especially fun.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:25 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


As a fan of the Duluth Harbor Cam, this is all very unsurprising because after navigating vast bodies of water, certain things come down to a matter of mere feet, but the knock-on effect of this ship being wedged in the Suez of all places is massive -- and the scale of the ship in question larger than the lakers that ply the Port of Duluth -- but in any case, enjoy some grounding porn from said locale (no injuries or anything traumatic, just big uh-ohs):

Presque Isle hits pier in Duluth

American Spirit Grounding 06/17/2018

Paul R. Tregurtha Aground in Duluth, Sept. 20, 2014
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:30 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


like stuck on top, all four tires dangling uselessly in the air

You high centered. I've also high centered, during an ill-advised attempt to drive on a 4-wheel-drive road that my vehicle was not suitable to drive on. It made me feel like an upside-down turtle.

I'm with you on the feeling better about that now. My driving error wasn't dissected in a metafilter thread!
posted by medusa at 6:34 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


There’s something about this that touches upon the sublime. I’m kinda giddy and filled with a weird dread contemplating this supermassive ship slowly but inexorably getting stuck. I think my teeth are sweating.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 6:50 PM on March 23 [32 favorites]


*chef's kiss*
posted by neon909 at 6:52 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Also, logistics nightmares are surprisingly captivating!
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 6:52 PM on March 23 [14 favorites]


Surely if this were intentional there's better ways of blocking the suez, like intentionally scuttling your ship right in the middle, or ramming into the ship to the front/rear of you. This is almost surely the result of an extremely ill-timed hydraulic failure.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:53 PM on March 23


wierdo: “Pretty sure pilots are required for the Suez transit.”
According to this Chief Makoi vlog on the transit, yes.

“Our Ship Transits the Suez Canal | Seaman VLOG 037”—Chief MAKOi, 18 November 2017
posted by ob1quixote at 6:54 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


My friend, hoping to find photos of tugboats working on freeing the ship, image-searched “ever given tugs.” She did not receive images of tugboats.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:03 PM on March 23 [92 favorites]


Presque Isle hits pier in Duluth

The marks on the side of that ship suggests that wasn't the first such incident.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:12 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Could be worse. What if the front of the ship fell off because the whole thing was made from cardboard? It's happened before!

Clarke and Dawe - The Front Fell Off
posted by etherist at 7:33 PM on March 23 [29 favorites]


It does not appear that it was too big for the Suez, counter the comment above. Suezmax is actually quite large: "Currently the permissible limits for suezmax ships are 20.1 m (66 ft) of draught with the beam no wider than 50 m (164.0 ft), or 12.2 m (40 ft) of draught with maximum allowed beam of 77.5 m (254 ft)", and while the Ever Given is pretty big, the it would fit in the second category. If it was overloaded the draft might be wrong, but it's not inherently too large.

Which makes sense, since Evergreen isn't exactly a newcomer and is unlikely to be sending ships that were going to get stuck and cost them money.
posted by tavella at 7:34 PM on March 23 [12 favorites]


Clarke and Dawe - The Front Fell Off

Hah. Holy shit, I totally forgot about that!

But fun fact about the Presque Isle -- the front can theoretically fall off because it's a tug-and-barge combo. The tug is at the back, and the front is just a barge that it pushes. Pictures of the detached tug portion here.

It would have been sort of amusing if they'd just detached the tug portion, left the barge there, and fucked off onto Lake Superior after botching their departure from the harbour.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:37 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Checked Twitter for any news about this. It appears that the remaining Q folks are wedging this occurrence into the conspiracy, which is a kind of news, I guess.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:46 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


There are long sections of the Suez that have two separate lanes, where a blockage like this perhaps wouldn't cause such a big headache. This is not one of those sections.
posted by theory at 7:46 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


I thought I had a really good joke ready based on the "a man, a plan, a canal, panama" palindrome. But then I realized it was the Suez Canal, not the Panama Canal. God damn it....

Reaaallly excited for this to delay already poor supply lines of it isn't fixed quickly.

Over/under on there was alcohol involved?



I don't know if there might be vaccines among the cargo but:

Ever Given Stuck In Suez Canal = Vaccines, Revenues, Gin: A Klutz
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:48 PM on March 23 [12 favorites]


So this is terrible and prices are going to be bananas tomorrow, right?
posted by Slackermagee at 7:54 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Came for the Austin Powers references, left satisfied.

And for the Brits amongst us, shades of the Chuckle Brothers: to me, to you.
posted by automatronic at 7:55 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


I'm just impressed that there's enough information for that tracker to properly depict the ship diagonally blocking the canal.
posted by ckape at 8:13 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Countess Elena- "wedging" groan... But I briefly saw that the recent discovery of more dead sea scrolls nearby as 'significant' and linked. (Those are definitely scare quotes.)
posted by freethefeet at 8:23 PM on March 23


MS EVERGREEN

moar like MERGES NEVER amirite
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:32 PM on March 23 [9 favorites]


Oh wait, never mind.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:33 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]




The marks on the side of that ship suggests that wasn't the first such incident.

Pilot training course and final exam
posted by flabdablet at 8:47 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: I read a lot of marine accident reports.
posted by emjaybee at 8:55 PM on March 23 [26 favorites]


Where Are Those Shoes You Ordered? Check the Ocean Floor

Ah yes, Davy Jones’ Foot Locker
posted by oulipian at 9:04 PM on March 23 [101 favorites]


Soundtrack for the thread

That works. But I was going to go with Men Without Hats...

"Sideways."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:05 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, Davy Jones’ Foot Locker

Full fathom five, my footwear lies
Of its soles are coral made
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:07 PM on March 23 [27 favorites]


How does the same thing not happen to everyone else in the channel now, in slow motion? Anchor? You usually need motion to steer and wind on such a big ship is a thing.
posted by ctmf at 9:10 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Sounds like a golden opportunity for me to finally open up my competing canal.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:17 PM on March 23 [26 favorites]


'She's sideways', the captain said, shrugging
'wedged in with containers we're lugging,
but we all understand
that relief is at hand
we'll get off with some vigorous tugging'
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:17 PM on March 23 [87 favorites]


“The vessel suffered a blackout while transiting in a northerly direction”

So basically it stalled out and drifted, what a nightmare
posted by cali at 9:20 PM on March 23 [9 favorites]


Suez tide chart
posted by anshuman at 9:23 PM on March 23




That ship has a carrying capacity of 20,124 TEU or about 965,952,000 bananas.
posted by poe at 9:46 PM on March 23 [17 favorites]


The small McGees and I thank you all for this thread because we are OBSESSED with this poor ship and they are equally entertained by the factual logistics nerdery and the jokes.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:50 PM on March 23 [33 favorites]


another ship in the jam also lost power (and almost rammed another ship)

I'm not saying it's aliens
posted by flabdablet at 9:53 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Pilot training course and final exam

It's not often I find myself shouting with useless rage at an online video. Or in this case two videos.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:53 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Sideways

Keep 'em coming...

Stranded
posted by flabdablet at 9:56 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Sounds like a golden opportunity for me to finally open up my competing canal

Hey! Unsavoury euphemisms belong over here.
posted by flabdablet at 9:59 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


I need to find more channels/accounts/podcasts on logistical nightmares because it turns out this is my jam rather than true crime.
posted by cendawanita at 10:16 PM on March 23 [30 favorites]


Waiting for the Well There's Your Problem podcast on this one, I have a feeling it'll be good!
posted by cats are weird at 10:18 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


this is my jam

iswydt
posted by flabdablet at 10:21 PM on March 23 [13 favorites]




ITYM the original Stuck In The Suez With You

(featuring the most-fun-to-play bassline ever)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:32 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


So basically it stalled out and drifted, what a nightmare

Fast and Furious 22: Suez Drift
posted by GuyZero at 10:32 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


From The Guardian:

Early reports speculated the vessel suffered a loss of power, but the ship’s operator, Evergreen Marine Corp, told Agence-France Presse: “The container accidentally ran aground after a suspected gust of wind hit it.

THAT SHIP WEIGHS A BAJILLION TONNES HOW STRONG COULD THAT WIND HAVE BEEN???
posted by GuyZero at 10:35 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Well but look at the sheer sides of that thing, it's like one ginormous sail.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:38 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


More soundtrack material: "All Sideways"
posted by theory at 11:10 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Apparently: https://twitter.com/jsrailton/status/1374597391463120896?s=19

OUF: new pics suggest the #EVERGIVEN might have impaled the canal shore with its bulbous bow. Wild if true.

Bulbous bows look weird but modify how water flows around the bow, making ships more efficient.

Cant find credits on pics 1&2, 3 is shipbuilder Samusung Heavy Industries. https://t.co/9c5CLgw3aa

posted by cendawanita at 11:29 PM on March 23


Over/under on there was alcohol involved?
Everclear?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 11:38 PM on March 23 [13 favorites]


My current earworm.
posted by anshuman at 11:40 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Everclear?

You joke, but Evergreen has named one of their "Ever C-class" container ships the Ever Clear (also here). Fortunately it is far away from important shipping canals.
posted by RichardP at 12:07 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Bulbous Bow
posted by flabdablet at 12:12 AM on March 24




thanks to the recent maritime law thread we've all brushed up on our international code of signals

> D Keep clear of me; I am maneuvering with difficulty.
> F I am disabled; communicate with me.
> G I require a pilot.
> M My vessel is stopped and making no way through the water.
> V I require assistance.
> Z I require a tug.
posted by are-coral-made at 12:25 AM on March 24 [26 favorites]


> The same container ship allided with Berthed Ferry "Finkenwerder" in Hamburg in 2019.

Woah. There is actually video of that accident.
posted by wachhundfisch at 12:59 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


TrialByMedia

"It's just been a great year to work in [understand how] supply chain management" works, how fragile it is, and some of the ways in which it could be disrupted.
posted by unearthed at 1:12 AM on March 24


In addition to his transit videos, Chief Makoi recently did a breakdown of the costs of a Suez transit versus going the long way round.

Long story short for the bulk carrier in his example, it's around $370,000 cheaper and 3-4 weeks quicker to cut through the canal.
posted by jontyjago at 1:16 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]


Z
posted by thelonius at 1:56 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]


Everyone needs a tug.
posted by chavenet at 2:16 AM on March 24 [20 favorites]


Re the comments upthread about the EVER GIVEN's track, here is a plot.

Two butt-cheeks and a cock-and-balls.

I am now awaiting Chuck Tingle's next masterpiece, Pounded in the Butt by an Ultra Large Container Ship.
posted by Major Clanger at 2:29 AM on March 24 [21 favorites]


my small car got stuck on a pile of snow that had built up between the incoming right turn lane & the incoming straight lanes, like stuck on top, all four tires dangling uselessly in the air, obstructing traffic, until a trio of burly saviors physically lifted it off & set it back on the road
Please say that these saviors moved your car because of your fresh breath.
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 2:35 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]


I believe the bulbous bow is usually located directly underneath the Wave Motion Gun
posted by straight at 2:47 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Has anyone yet claimed that Russian hackers did this to promote container shipping over the Trans-Siberian Railway as a safer alternative?
posted by acb at 2:51 AM on March 24


> D Keep clear of me; I am maneuvering with difficulty.
> F I am disabled; communicate with me.
> G I require a pilot.
> M My vessel is stopped and making no way through the water.
> V I require assistance.
> Z I require a tug.
who knew the ICS was so emo?
posted by Sauce Trough at 2:59 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Perhaps the main learning to take home from this is that the sides of canals should be lined with giant pinball-style bumpers that push any drifting ships back into the canal.
posted by acb at 3:35 AM on March 24 [18 favorites]


The video of the canal blockage & ship queues linked earlier is deleted now. Similar / same footage is available from the Guardian.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 3:46 AM on March 24


If you french fry when you should’ve pizza’d, you're gonna have a bad time.
posted by thejoshu at 4:10 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


During my college years there was a local band called Kittywinder who released a song called “Narrow Canal” that went “Narrow canal! Narrow canal! Your boat’s too big for my narrow canal!” It was, course, not actually about a canal. But man if I could only find a recording online it would be a perfect addition here.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:23 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Usually a shipment of prunes, followed by a shipment of coffee, fixes this for me.
posted by condour75 at 4:25 AM on March 24 [18 favorites]


Seems like it didn't even need the rudder over much, or perhaps even at all, to make this happen. Just the power going out.

In a complete power blackout, you'd lose the source of hydraulic pressure needed to move the rudder. There'll be some residual pressure left in the system which you can keep steering with briefly, but unless you can get the power back, that pressure will run out. I've been in this situation, on a much smaller vessel. The helmsman will be catching a lot of flack here, but may have been doing a heroic job trying to keep it straight with gradual loss of control force.

Without power, you can't use the bow thrusters to help. And even if you can manage to leave the rudder dead centre, sooner or later the ship will veer off course one way or another. And once that happened, momentum will have carried that bulbuous bow right into the bank, where it dug in and formed a pivot point as the ship's mass continued forward, swinging the stern across to the other side of the canal and carrying it aground there too.

It's going to be very hard to free it, because although you can attach a lot of engine power with tugs, you're trying to get the ship moving from a standing start with engine power alone while trying to overcome a lot of friction. Whereas to get into that position, it had the help of 200,000 tons of mass which was already up to speed.

The big question is going to be how that power blackout, if that's what it was, was able to happen. There'll be multiple generators aboard as well as the main engine - you'd think something should have been able to supply power to keep the ship controllable.
posted by automatronic at 4:29 AM on March 24 [21 favorites]


The hilarious complication is that in order to pull on the ship with a tugboat, the tug engines will have to apply thrust away from the ship, which will drive water towards the ship which will somewhat counter the effect of the tug.

A little like the cartoons where a becalmed sailboat is "rescued" by someone on-board pulling out a desk fan to blow on the sail: it's funny, because physics doesn't work that way.

The farther away the tugs are from the ship, the less the effect will be, for sure.

I would guess they'll eventually free it by waiting for the tide to flow astern, then yoink sideways on the stern with as much as they've got in an effort to derotate the ship with the bow as the hinge. So using an excavator on the stern side to make that easier would be best. The bow isn't going anywhere.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:39 AM on March 24


It was, course, not actually about a canal.

posted by schoolgirl report at 12:23


Eponysterical.
posted by acb at 4:57 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


I was wondering if they could air lift some of the containers off to lower the weight, a Chinook can (just) lift one filled container. However the Ever Given holds 20,000 containers, so even lifting 10% of them (2000) at a rate of 1 per hour would take 83 days!
posted by Lanark at 5:02 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


I was wondering if they could air lift some of the containers off to lower the weight

Air lift?!? I was imagining they’d end up just throwing them into the water. Though even how they’d do that is a big technical challenge. Maybe they could jack up one side of the ship and the containers would fall off?
posted by purple_frogs at 5:12 AM on March 24


However the Ever Given holds 20,000 containers

In the interest of complete container nerdery, whilst the capacity of the ship is listed as 20,388 TEU this will probably not translate to around 20,000 actual containers. TEU stands for Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit and a lot (majority?) of containers carried these days are 40 feet long and are classed as 2 TEU each. Still, that's a lot of big boxes.
posted by jontyjago at 5:14 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Ah a 40 ft container is over the carrying capacity of a Chinook, so that idea is out.
posted by Lanark at 5:20 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I feel that Boaty McBoatface is somehow behind all of this.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 5:27 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


While "We Didn't Start the Fire" is the obvious Billy Joel reference, my mind is hung up on "Downeaster Alexa" if only because the line "Tell my wife I am trolling Atlantis" becomes "Tell my wife I am blocking the Suez" very nicely.
posted by nubs at 5:29 AM on March 24 [14 favorites]


A crane ship could transfer containers to other ships.

Considering the costs involved they could even just send a swarm of stevedores and welders onto the ship to manually empty and cut up containers. But that would seem like a last resort. The solution will probably be excavation/dredging.
posted by Mitheral at 5:35 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Apologies if this pic has already been linked but I liked it: Front-end loader for scale.
posted by glonous keming at 5:37 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


A question that’s always bugged me when seeing ships with containers piled that densely and that many units high: what happens if the crew needs to get to one of the boxes on top, or in the middle, during the trip? I mean if they find out it’s carrying dangerous materials, or people, or something? Does it really never happen?
posted by purple_frogs at 5:45 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Partly floated
posted by anshuman at 5:54 AM on March 24


Inevitably, the juice boxes are somewhere in the middle of the stack
posted by condour75 at 5:54 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


Or not.

posted by anshuman at 6:05 AM on March 24


Satellite view.
posted by anshuman at 6:08 AM on March 24


That ship has a carrying capacity of 20,124 TEU or about 965,952,000 bananas.

At an approx. 4 bananas per pound, that works out to 241,488,000 pounds of bananas.

I miss Harry Chapin.
posted by mikelieman at 6:16 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


From The Guardian:

Early reports speculated the vessel suffered a loss of power, but the ship’s operator, Evergreen Marine Corp, told Agence-France Presse: “The container accidentally ran aground after a suspected gust of wind hit it.

THAT SHIP WEIGHS A BAJILLION TONNES HOW STRONG COULD THAT WIND HAVE BEEN???
Back-of-the-envelope math:

400m long ship, air draft (how far it sticks out of the water, basically) 12m = 4800 m2

Let's assume the wind was really strong. Like, hurricane-force wind. 80 MPH, or 35 m/s.
Fw   = pd A
     = 1/2 ρ v2 A 
     = 1/2 (1.2) * (352) * 4800
     = 3,528,000 N
3.5 million newtons is a lot of force! But the ship, loaded with cargo, weighs somewhere in the ballpark of 450,000,000 kilograms, so let's divide our force by weight:
3528000 / 450000000 = .00784
Hmm. A change in velocity of .008 m/s probably wouldn't blow us aground. Wonder how strong the wind would have to be to actually nudge the ship? Like, to exert pressure to change its velocity by 1 m/s? The force from wind is quadratic to its speed, so it can't be THAT big, right?
Fw        = pd A
450000000 = pd A
450000000 = 1/2 ρ v2 A
450000000 = 1/2 (1.2) * (v2) * 4800
156250    = v2
395.28    = v
395.28 m/s, or 884 MPH. The fastest wind ever recorded in a hurricane is 190MPH, so yeah, it's totally plausible that the ship was overcome by an errant gust of wind 5 times that strong as it made its way across the Suez Canal, blowing it off-course and aground.
posted by Mayor West at 6:28 AM on March 24 [13 favorites]


Maybe they could jack up one side of the ship and the containers would fall off?
Thereby blocking the canal even more.


I mean if they find out it’s carrying dangerous materials, or people, or something? Does it really never happen?

Sometimes crew members have to go on the stacks to reconnect containers that have come loose. I have never heard of a crew opening a container at see because of what you just described.
posted by nestor_makhno at 6:32 AM on March 24


Mayor West - I didn't check your actual numbers, but your final value 0.008 is an acceleration, not a speed. 0.008 meters per second squared would mean that it would take only about 125 seconds to build up to a 1 m/s change in velocity.

*it's been a long time since physics class, I may have got this wrong!
posted by moonmilk at 6:43 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


400m long ship, air draft (how far it sticks out of the water, basically) 12m = 4800 m2

12m can't be right. A container is more than 2m high and they are stacked at least 9 high on the deck.
posted by Mitheral at 6:45 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


what happens if the crew needs to get to one of the boxes on top, or in the middle, during the trip?

Based purely on watching container ship crew Youtubers, I would say that the simple answer, in most cases, is that they can't, for the reason that in the normal mode of operation they have absolutely no reason to.

The exception to this is reefers, which are refrigerated containers hooked into the ship's power and their vital statistics are checked on a regular basis to make sure the temperature is at the right level. So they need to be accessible but for the rest, they only need to be secured and transported.
posted by jontyjago at 6:45 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


The draft is the distance from the keel to the waterline, the 'below water' part.
posted by Lanark at 6:48 AM on March 24


A wedged ship in a great tightness. Oh bother.
posted by jquinby at 6:52 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


> F I am disabled; communicate with me.

If I had to pick one signal flag message to express my soul over the last year, it would be this one.
posted by medusa at 7:00 AM on March 24 [15 favorites]


> Zeus: No on Suez.

Zeus: No kayak on Suez.
posted by ardgedee at 7:02 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Zeus: no Tao boat on Suez. (See here heehee.)
posted by anshuman at 7:07 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Surely the real problem is inertia. Once that boat starts moving it will just keep on going, equally it takes a lot of effort to get it moving in a new direction.

I've heard at least 2 excuses, a blackout (interestingly that word also appears in the German video above) and high winds. It is on a nice straight stretch now but the rotation could have started half an hour previously. Right now everyone is trying to avoid blame and justify an insurance claim.
posted by epo at 7:08 AM on March 24


Suez, amaze us!
posted by theodolite at 7:09 AM on March 24 [48 favorites]


And you may ask yourself, "Am I right? Am I wrong?"

And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?"

♪♬ Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down...

posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:11 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


The Suez Canal Authority is saying that the grounding was caused by wind.

"The accident is mainly due to the lack of visibility resulting from bad weather conditions as the country passes through a dust storm, with wind speed reaching 40 knots," Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie said in a statement.


If that’s true, then the canal authorities need to do some engineering to make the passage safer. Lack of visibility should never be a problem on a canal. The canal is fixed. Radar can be set up on the shore and then the information needs to be relayed to the ships. Is there something like a non-ship AIS beacon?
posted by rdr at 7:13 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Zeus K. cuts Tao boat stuck on Suez.
posted by anshuman at 7:19 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Oops. Never mind. Work in progress.
posted by anshuman at 7:22 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Zeus (no K) cuts Tao boat stuck on Suez.
posted by anshuman at 7:24 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


What happens if the crew needs to get to one of the boxes on top, or in the middle, during the trip?

The whole purpose of containers is to reduce the number of cargo handlers necessary to handle cargo and thereby avoid the salary and wages of enormous numbers of unionized stevedores. One way they justified this, apart from the very compelling argument that it would save costs and result in lower prices, is by justifying containers as a defense against shrinkage. You're not supposed to be able to get into a container by any reasonable means and if you can something is very wrong with the system. Among other things, if you could get into containers that would completely invalidate the insurance on them.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:27 AM on March 24 [14 favorites]


I just realized that EVA Air has the same logo, font, and ownership as this ship. Now I'm thinking about what it would be like to get wedged sideways between two clouds.
posted by theodolite at 7:29 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


My only hope is that sea shanty tik tok steps up to document this farce.
posted by clockwork at 7:44 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Please enjoy Big Steamers , a 100+ year old poem of Rudyard Kipling's, set to music by British folk singer-songwriter Peter Bellamy.

Relevant last verse:
For the bread that you eat and the biscuits you nibble,
The sweets that you suck and the joints that you carve,
They are brought to you daily by All Us Big Steamers
And if any one hinders our coming you'll starve!
posted by Sheydem-tants at 8:11 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


Idly browsing the names of ships on Vessel Finder - there are a lot of great new Metafilter usernames in there. Stolt Maple. Happy Avocet. Frontier Lodestar. Energy Chancellor. Grand Dolphin. Siem Socrates. I'm a big fan of Draftvader.

And then there is poor little Chris. He's currently stuck just off Suez between Glory, New Discovery, and can see ITHAKI WARRIOR lording it up in the distance. Imagine being 239 meters long, and weighing over 56000 tons, and all your shipyard can think of to call you is Chris. No last name. No cool random numbers and letters like that fucker BARI12743. Just Chris.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:22 AM on March 24 [39 favorites]






Looks like next high tide for the canal is in a few hours
posted by gwint at 8:29 AM on March 24


Going to start saying “ever givin” in place of “ever lovin”, which is to say in place of “motherfuckin”
posted by rodlymight at 8:30 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Containers are sealed shut in transit, with tamper-evident locking mechanisms. Here's an article about them.

They would never be opened by the crew. If a container showed sign of having been opened there would be a lot of unpleasant paperwork to be done.

It's a big part of the concept of containerization. The container is the unit of transport. It goes from source to destination as a unit and isn't messed with along the way, unless customs authorities decide to inspect it. If they did they would reseal it and there would be paperwork.
posted by automatronic at 8:51 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


And then there is poor little Chris. He's currently stuck just off Suez between Glory, New Discovery, and can see ITHAKI WARRIOR lording it up in the distance. Imagine being 239 meters long, and weighing over 56000 tons, and all your shipyard can think of to call you is Chris. No last name. No cool random numbers and letters like that fucker BARI12743. Just Chris.

And to think that the ship's original name was STAVANGER VIKING and then CABO TAMAR*. Its current owners seem to have suffered from a remarkable failure of imagination.

* Although that one is a rather inauspicious name for an oil tanker.
posted by jedicus at 8:52 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Well that's one way to celebrate Exxon Valdez Day...
posted by Cris E at 9:08 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Containers are sealed shut in transit ... They would never be opened by the crew.

Hope to God there aren't any stowaways on this one. There have been migrants who hide in containers, presumably after paying huge bribes, but the results are so bad that I would take my chance with the wheel well of a plane first.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:09 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I read a lot of marine accident reports. I will be eagerly awaiting this one.

I used to have fun browsing the gallery on cargolaw.com, but that site hasn't been updated in almost a decade. Would you have any other publicly-available sources?
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:12 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


No cool random numbers and letters like that fucker BARI12743

It only seems so because you don't know about the tragic fates that befell BARI1 through BARI12742. "Cargo shipping is a complicated profession."
posted by mstokes650 at 9:16 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


I used to have fun browsing the gallery on cargolaw.com, but that site hasn't been updated in almost a decade. Would you have any other publicly-available sources?

I'm UK-based so my usual interest is in our Marine Accident Investigation Branch reports - 974 of them to read there covering the last 20 years or so, should keep you busy a while. Most will have pictures.

The US equivalent are the NTSB Marine Accident Reports.

Other countries have similar processes.
posted by automatronic at 9:34 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Please enjoy Big Steamers

Let's eliminate unsavoury euphemisms altogether.
posted by flabdablet at 9:40 AM on March 24 [14 favorites]


My first thought was bao buns, which are the opposite of unsavoury.
posted by acb at 10:09 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


IDK, I think Chris sounds friendly, approachable, and can do. Want to get your container across the globe? Call Chris, she'll get it done.
posted by Mitheral at 10:16 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Who let Moses drive?
posted by nickggully at 10:22 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I like bao buns and I cannot lie.
posted by flabdablet at 10:23 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


which are the opposite of unsavoury

Wait, I just made that pun to my friends about the guy in the shrimp thread, and how unsavory he seems to be.

Coconut shrimp aside.
posted by Snowishberlin at 10:24 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Call Chris, she'll get it done.

Well except for the moment she won't, as she's currently doing zero knots and chit chatting with that other lay-about tanker the Corcovado LNG just off to her starboard. I mean seriously, is this Port Taofik, or some sort of tea party for tankers.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:29 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by parmanparman at 10:30 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice things.

Or at least inexpensive, short-lived replicas of nice things.
posted by maxwelton at 10:45 AM on March 24 [20 favorites]


We needed a man, a plan, ...
posted by elkevelvet at 10:53 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Zeus: No on Suez.

Or conversely: Zeus says YAS SUEZ
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:30 AM on March 24 [31 favorites]


Time to break out the Economy Size packet of Colon Blow...
posted by aeshnid at 11:38 AM on March 24


Snap quiz - MeFi user name or Cargo Ship/Tanker.

Max Stability or Max Power

Click for answer
The Max Stability is a General Cargo Ship built in 2006. Max Power is a Mefi username.

Meta 4 or Meta283

Click for answer
The Meta 4 is an Oil Products Tanker built in 2010. Meta283 is a Mefi username.

Nayano or Naya

Click for answer
The Naya is a Container Ship built in 1997. Nayano is a Mefi username.

Stellaluna or Stella Laura

Click for answer
The Stella Laura is a Bulk Carrier built in 2010. Stellaluna is a Mefi username.

Valancy Rachel or Rachel Borchard

Click for answer
The Rachel Borchard is a Container Ship built in 2007. Valancy Rachel is a Mefi username.

Luna Spirit or Lunaport

Click for answer
The Luna Spirit is a Vehicles Carrier built in 2007. Lunaport is a Mefi username.

Panamana or Panamaus

Click for answer
The Panamana is a General Cargo Ship built in 2010. Panamaus is a Mefi username.

posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:46 AM on March 24 [110 favorites]


Tea Party For Tankers is my Cat Stevens cover album
posted by The otter lady at 11:47 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]


What sorcery is this
posted by exlotuseater at 11:51 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


This sorcery.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:55 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Perhaps the main learning to take home from this is that the sides of canals should be lined with giant pinball-style bumpers that push any drifting ships back into the canal.

Do not, I repeat, do not, under any circumstance, connect these bumpers to a score display at the ends of the canal.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:58 AM on March 24 [24 favorites]


Snap quiz - MeFi user name or Cargo Ship/Tanker.

This is awesome! I LOLd. And got about 50% correct. You have the makings of a massiveextremely local clickbait sensation on your hands.
posted by medusa at 12:10 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Also, from this thread:
Cris E. or ChrisCris E. is a history-minded mefi user, but Chris is a friendly, can-do ship

posted by wenestvedt at 12:21 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


The crankshaft alone probably weighs 200-300 tons. The cylinders are the height of a building.

Just in case folks weren't up on the size of the truly colossal two-stroke diesels that are in these ships, here's a promo video for the 14RT-flex96C. It can put out more than 6 MW per cylinder.
posted by scruss at 12:49 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Snap quiz - MeFi user name or Cargo Ship/Tanker.This is why we can have nice things

posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:50 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


To follow up, Q's specific line of bullshit about this.

More seriously, if this is indeed due to a sandstorm, could it be another knock-on effect of global warming and possibly bound to happen again? I know there are generally strong sandstorms in the area, but there's also snow sometimes in the South, and look at this winter.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:51 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


So, if the cargo ship collides with the walls of the canal, doesn't the collision poke holes in the hull, and make the ship sink, all Titanic-style?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 1:08 PM on March 24


I know this is just for scale, but I can't help imagining someone navigating the Suez Canal so poorly that their container ship ended up square in the middle of the Central Park reservoir.

Just Chris.... And to think that the ship's original name was STAVANGER VIKING and then CABO TAMAR*

Let he who did not have a regrettable username as a teenager throw the first stone.

I don't know. I think Chris is kind of personable. Intimate, even. It's a container ship you can confide in. One that you can introduce to your mom.

STAVANGER VIKING is fine for a fling, but I'm not bringing them home for Christmas.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:11 PM on March 24 [12 favorites]




Oh the Suez they say
Is but one way
The aisle is too narrow for passin'

Later that night
When they were in clear sight
Came the wedge of the Ever Given freight hauler

/I just need 20 more verses
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:27 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


STAVANGER VIKING

Viking Stavanger is the name of a Norwegian soccer team*, so maybe the person who named it was a fan, or just into semi-obscure teams.

* I assumed I knew this because they are in European competitions a fair bit, but looking at Wikipedia it seems they usually don't make it out of qualifying matches into the tournaments proper. It also tells me they were once managed by Roy Hodgson so maybe the team came up when discussing his interesting CV.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:33 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I’m expecting a Kickstarter item and the inventor let us know the shipment was coming from China on a container ship called the Everladen. I thought it was a cool name for a container ship (or maybe an elf) and now I’m disappointed it’s just a naming convention.
posted by liet at 2:17 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]




A Poem by Twitter user @krfabian
my name is Boat
and wen im tired
(but shipping werk
is still required)

then all I want
is lyttle snooze
i turn to side
i blok the Sooz

posted by miguelcervantes at 2:33 PM on March 24 [94 favorites]


The ocean floor through the Suez Canal is a route for a great many undersea data cables, especially some of the more important ones linking EMEA with APAC. From time to time a ship will drag its anchor in the wrong spot and cause no end of trouble.

This is a bit inaccurate. Check Submarine Cable Map and you'll see that all the lines studiously avoid the canal, typically going overland through points near Port Said and Alexandria south to Suez and points to its southwest, then resuming undersea-ness from there. Neal Stephenson talks about the process of sending cable overland in his Wired article from 1996 (admittedly things have probably changed somewhat since then, but the basic principle that putting cable into a canal is a colossally bad idea hasn't changed). Ships can still mess up undersea cable, of course, they just have to do it by dragging anchor in spots where there actually is some cabling. The canal is not such a spot.
posted by axiom at 3:15 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Here's an 8-episode podcast all about shipping containers:
https://pod.link/1209559177

In eight 50-minute episodes, the CONTAINERS Alexis Madrigal explores how global transport changed from humans putting individual things in ships and airplanes to putting things into train-car size containers, which are loaded via huge cranes onto huge boats. Containerization is why cheaply-made goods have flooded the world. The series examines how this change, started almost by accident during the Vietnam war, has affected billions of people in small and large ways.
posted by Jesse the K at 3:34 PM on March 24 [18 favorites]


Oh the year was twenty twenty one
(How I wish I was in Port Said now!)
We were bound for Rotterdam
When we made a hell of a traffic jam

God damn them all, it should have been fine
We'd take the canal and we'd make good time
We'd be safe home soon, have no fear!
Now the boat's stuck hard and we're in the way
You can't go through the Suez today


Oh the Ever Given was an awesome sight
(How I wish I was in Port Said now!)
She was stacked to the funnels with treasure and tat
Hope you weren't expecting any of that

(Chorus)

From the sea we came to the canal
(How I wish I was in Port Said now!)
We were six miles through when the wind got strong
That's when it all went badly wrong

(Chorus)

We caught the wind, blew to one side
(How I wish I was in Port Said now!)
The thruster and the rudder couldn't hold her back
And she went into the bank with a terrible smack

(Chorus)

The bow dug a hole in the eastern shore
(How I wish I was in Port Said now!)
The ship carried on and the stern swung round
'Till she lay with both her ends aground

(Chorus)

Every tug they came to haul us out
(How I wish I was in Port Said now!)
They've heaved and strained with rope and winch
But the ship's not moved a single inch

(Chorus)

Now here we lie on our third day here
(How I wish I was in Port Said now!)
Don't come this way, you won't get far
Take a long trip around Africa

(Chorus)
posted by automatronic at 4:22 PM on March 24 [42 favorites]


Update! ”The situation has gotten so desperate that an elite salvage squad is due to arrive Thursday to work on prising the Ever Given from the bank of the canal, where it’s blocking oceangoing carriers that haul everything from oil to consumer goods.” Link to story, and more on the salvage master, Nick Sloane.
posted by cali at 4:58 PM on March 24 [23 favorites]


Nick Sloane, Salvage Master
Sounds like a Phil Hartman SNL bit
posted by thelonius at 5:05 PM on March 24 [19 favorites]


Do not, I repeat, do not, under any circumstance, connect these bumpers to a score display at the ends of the canal.

Picard voice: "All hands, prepare for multiball!"
posted by JHarris at 5:08 PM on March 24 [28 favorites]


BTW, this is a wonderful thread.
posted by JHarris at 5:09 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


I am not done reading yet, but that article about Nick Sloane is one of the most gripping tales I have ever read.
posted by double bubble at 5:19 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Viking Stavanger is the name of a Norwegian soccer team
That face when you inadvertently said that you'd have a fling with an entire Norwegian soccer team.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:20 PM on March 24 [14 favorites]


I am not done reading yet, but that article about Nick Sloane is one of the most gripping tales I have ever read.

Partially due to the fact it was written by William Langewiesche. You should also check out his piece on the El Faro disaster.
posted by gwint at 5:43 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


@double bubble — do read The Grey Seas Under, by Farley Mowat (another great Salvager’s name). I came to this book unprepared in my early 20s and realized I had not been living big enough.

... and has lead me to yelling out loud “Force 10 gale!” during the most challenging parts of my life.
posted by Silvery Fish at 5:51 PM on March 24 [12 favorites]


That face when you inadvertently said that you'd have a fling with an entire Norwegian soccer team.

But not bring them home for christmas.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:01 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


And, of course, (provided by @Thinkwert):

I have blocked
the canal
that was in
Egypt
and which
you were probably
using
for the global economy
Forgive me
It went sideways
so fast
and out of control
posted by jokeefe at 6:24 PM on March 24 [59 favorites]


BTW, this is a wonderful thread.

Seconding this. I live in Colorado...so without getting too upsetting let me just say that a thread of lighthearted diversion and nerdery is sorely welcome this week.
posted by medusa at 6:50 PM on March 24 [12 favorites]


@philgibson01 on Twitter: It's a lovely day in the Suez Canal, and you are a horrible giant container ship
posted by automatronic at 7:10 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


> D Keep clear of me; I am maneuvering with difficulty.
> F I am disabled; communicate with me.
> G I require a pilot.
> M My vessel is stopped and making no way through the water.
> V I require assistance.
> Z I require a tug.

Probably settle for November Charlie. "No" + "Yes" = "Distress"

And I'm not sure there's an agreed-on sequence for "No shit, I can see that without the little flags, asshole."
posted by ctmf at 7:14 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Also I am legit considering a metatalk asking people to please post links to the original versions of the songs when they rewrite the lyrics because 90% of the time I have no idea what you all are on about.
posted by medusa at 7:15 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


I like big boats and I cannot lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a boat walks in with an itty bitty crew
And a round bow in your sand you get stuck
Wanna pull around ‘cause you notice that boat’s aground
Right to the canal she’s bearin’
I’m hooked and I can’t stop starin’
Oh boaty I wanna get wit’cha
And see more pictures
My pilots tried to warn me
But that jam you’re in makes jokes so corny
&c
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:39 PM on March 24 [23 favorites]


Jesse the K:
Here's an 8-episode podcast all about shipping containers:
https://pod.link/1209559177


I second this series. I got recommended this podcast a couple of years ago. Very enjoyable! I wish I can find more, and I'm looking forward to that youtube channel of that ship captain mentioned upthread.
posted by cendawanita at 7:50 PM on March 24


Also I am legit considering a metatalk asking people to please post links to the original versions of the songs when they rewrite the lyrics because 90% of the time I have no idea what you all are on about.

Yeah, that's a good idea. Here's links for all the musical/poetical/literary references I could find earlier in the thread.

nickggully: "There once was a ship that put to sea..." is based on The Wellerman (which was the song that kicked off the Sea Shanty TikTok craze).
mandolin conspiracy: "Full fathom five..." is from The Tempest.
evidenceofabsence: "And you may ask yourself..." is quoting Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads.
flabdablet: "I like bao buns and I cannot lie" is riffing on Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot.
zerobyproxy: "Oh the Suez they say..." is based on The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot.
miguelcervantes quoting @krfabian: "my name is Boat" is aping a poem from Reddit which became a meme.
automatronic: "Oh the year was twenty twenty one..." is bastardising Barrett's Privateers by Stan Rogers.
jokeefe quoting @Thinkwert: "I have blocked / the canal..." is spoofing This is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams.
posted by automatronic at 7:55 PM on March 24 [46 favorites]


I have blocked
the canal
that was in
Egypt

ALL THESE CANALS ARE YOURS  — EXCEPT SUEZ.
ATTEMPT NO CROSSING THERE

posted by GuyZero at 8:49 PM on March 24 [21 favorites]


So is it still stuck?
posted by vrakatar at 9:01 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Still stuck.
posted by lostburner at 9:04 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Well, fuck.
posted by vrakatar at 9:08 PM on March 24 [16 favorites]


The last I heard, it has been pulled aside to permit some traffic, but I cannot find that article again
posted by Countess Elena at 9:15 PM on March 24


How do the dirt sides of the canal not .. crumble into the water? I do not know enough about this to even know what words to search for. I keep expecting the little excavator (he's trying his best!) to get sucked into a quicksand puddle of sandy slurry where the bow is stuck in the wall.
posted by cmyk at 9:18 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


How do the dirt sides of the canal not .. crumble into the water?

Short answer: civil engineering works.

The canal banks are not just "dirt"; they're carefully constructed earthworks built to withstand the endless wash of countless passing ships, and pretty resistant to crumbling because they have to be.
posted by flabdablet at 9:27 PM on March 24 [16 favorites]


Metafilter: pretty resistant to crumbling
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:50 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


I’m no stranger to sand
I know the Suez, or thought I did
Before I blacked out and crashed into land
This wouldn’t happen to any smaller ship

I just wanna tell you how I'm keeling
Gonna blame it on that wind

Ever Given’s all washed up
Ever Given’s broken down
Ever Given’s run aground in desert-dust
Ever Given’s stuck sideways
Ever Given’s causing delays
Ever Given’s wishing its bow wasn’t bulbous
posted by oulipian at 10:00 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Maybe if a certain canal embankment had read a certain book, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in such a pickle.

Sort of related: a great (and eponysterical) comment from a few years ago defending the widely-mocked book.
posted by theory at 11:37 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Omg the memes are bringing me so much joy! My fave so far. Via
posted by ellieBOA at 2:49 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


For the last month and a half I've been dealing with the kidney stones from hell, so I know how this canal feels
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:22 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


They’re saying it might take weeks. (Maybe just managing expectations, but.)
posted by anshuman at 3:40 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Tao boat. (I meant to link it above.)
posted by anshuman at 3:54 AM on March 25


Ah a 40 ft container is over the carrying capacity of a Chinook, so that idea is out.

Supposing *two* Chinooks carried it together, using a strand of creeper held under the dorsal guiding feathers?
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:57 AM on March 25 [22 favorites]


Supposing *two* Chinooks carried it together, using a strand of creeper held under the dorsal guiding feathers?

European or African Chinooks?
posted by Stoneshop at 4:25 AM on March 25 [25 favorites]


“ The Japanese owner of the giant cargo ship that has been blocking Egypt's Suez Canal since Tuesday has apologised for the disruption to global trade.”

“We’re sorry to see what you found! We would like to report this to our quality team and replace the box.”
posted by double bubble at 5:13 AM on March 25 [13 favorites]


The Japanese owner of the giant cargo ship

That is a rather uncommon way to spell "Taiwanese".
posted by Stoneshop at 6:04 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


It's just gone noon
Half past monsoon
On the banks of the Suez Canal
Here lies the boat
Totally not afloat
Digger man says, have to get my pal...
posted by Stoneshop at 6:19 AM on March 25


Supposing *two* Chinooks carried it together, using a strand of creeper held under the dorsal guiding feathers?

A Chinook with rotors operating is 30 m so they would need to fly very close together.
The two blades on a Chinook rotate in opposite directions, so if they kept the front of one Chinook next to the rear of the other and exactly matched their speed, I guess it might work:
                   -----------!-----------                 -----------!-----------
  -----------!-----------  /=====\            -----------!-----------  /=====\   
            |===\_________/_  o  |                      |===\_________/_  o  |   
           /_]    o o  o o____   /                     /_]    o o  o o____   /   
          <_]___[]_______<____>/                      <_]___[]_______<____>/      
              o          \   o                       /     o              o       
                          \                        /         
                       ____\_____________________/____
                       |             |               |
                       |   FRAGILE   |  DO NOT DROP  |
                       |_____________|_______________|
posted by Lanark at 6:37 AM on March 25 [42 favorites]


do read The Grey Seas Under, by Farley Mowat (another great Salvager’s name). I came to this book unprepared in my early 20s and realized I had not been living big enough.

An extremely strong second to this recommendation. The opening of this book is simply sublime.

(Also, when you're done, pick up The Boat that Wouldn't Float by the same author, which is head and shoulders the funniest book I've ever read.)

Also between this thread and the cascade of memes, I have been absolutely delighted by, er, the grinding halt of a significant percentage of global shipping. Just another note that I deeply appreciate all of this.
posted by kalimac at 6:58 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]


In ongoing transportation disruption news, in Canada, a subway station is shut down due to the presence of a beaver.
posted by nubs at 7:02 AM on March 25 [20 favorites]


Here's an interesting take I hadn't seen yet: the sides of the canal are not straight. They're very sloped. So the ship is way more stuck than it appears.
posted by GuyZero at 7:11 AM on March 25 [13 favorites]


That is a rather uncommon way to spell "Taiwanese".

The Ever Given is owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha (who are Japanese) but operated by Evergreen (who are Taiwanese.)
posted by scorbet at 7:24 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


Here's an interesting theory about the exact effect that may have caused this: The bank effect and the big boat blocking the Suez
posted by confluency at 7:47 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Here's an interesting take I hadn't seen yet: the sides of the canal are not straight. They're very sloped. So the ship is way more stuck than it appears.

The critical angle of repose for dry sand is like ~30-37°. For wet sand it's as high as 45°.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:03 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Some people are being pieces of shit on the internet because they heard the boat's captain was a woman -- which is not true. FYI.

Thing is, though, what if she was? True equality will come when a woman can fuck up hugely, or just be mediocre, and not be considered a reflection on anyone else.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:20 AM on March 25 [29 favorites]


If I understand it correctly from above, the pilots that take the boats through the Suez (and other canals, ports, etc) are highly-trained experts in their respective waterways. If so, I’m going to start giving myself a break for all the little things I screw up daily.
posted by double bubble at 8:51 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


If we are talking Mowat, don’t forget The Serpent’s Coil, his other marine salvage book about the Foundation Josephine, the successor to the Foundation Franklin .
posted by rockindata at 8:56 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


I hope they're being careful with our new melamine butter dish with a bamboo lid. I've been looking forward to it for a while.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:10 AM on March 25 [13 favorites]


I'm posting this after only reading about half the comments, but to everyone just now finding out they really like high-stakes logistical adventures, the (nonfiction) book Road Fever by Tim Cahill is worth a read. He drove from the southernmost point of South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, breaking the work record. This was back in 1987, I think, so there were no cellphones or other modern technology to aid him. Super fun read.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:11 AM on March 25 [7 favorites]


And as we all banter back and forth, one lone steamshovel tries to save the world economy.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:31 AM on March 25 [13 favorites]


Mary Anne!
posted by Going To Maine at 9:35 AM on March 25 [11 favorites]


In ongoing transportation disruption news, in Canada, a subway station is shut down due to the presence of a beaver.

What could be more Canadian than this? Nothing could. This is infinity Canadian.
posted by medusa at 9:38 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]


One lone steam shovel.
One lone civil rights organizer.
One lone medical expert.


Thought they be lone, still they are mighty.
posted by double bubble at 9:44 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


One lone voter.

The metaphor is screaming to be heard in so many ways.
posted by double bubble at 9:47 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


I feel like that lone digger image is a metaphor for infrastructure week. Wait, is this infrastructure week?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:59 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


Guardian: I've sailed the Suez canal on a cargo ship – it's no wonder the Ever Given got stuck:
Although the official reason given so far for the Ever Given’s plight is that it was blown sideways by wind, I do wonder. In the vast majority of maritime accidents, human error is at fault. And no wonder: seafarers, working in ever smaller crews on ever larger ships, are knackered. Most on my journey were old enough to remember when they could stop for lunch in port. Now, ships are rarely in port for more than several hours, and those are busy. As we entered the canal, transiting south with our mostly empty boxes to collect made-in-China consumables and essentials such as medicine, the second officer was operating on three nights of three hours’ sleep, and would have no sleep during the transit. There is, as the Ever Given demonstrates, much to look out for during the passage.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:03 AM on March 25 [10 favorites]


What could be more Canadian than this?

Could have been a portage the beaver was blocking.
posted by Mitheral at 10:13 AM on March 25 [10 favorites]


There is a very good industrial documentary history involving one Mike Mulligan, and one steam shovel, "Mary Anne" which may prove instructional at this point.
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:18 AM on March 25 [14 favorites]


I hope that Mr. Mulligan has learned his lesson about leaving an exit route, or that Mary Anne has gotten a snorkel.
posted by Reverend John at 10:29 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


That ship ain't moving until this thread gets at least 400 comments.
posted by gwint at 10:57 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]




> Could have been a portage the beaver was blocking.

Do we know the beaver isn't the absconded Ever Given pilot, back from a successful dam raid?
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:14 AM on March 25


Shoulda used SmahtPahk.
posted by praemunire at 11:14 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Earlier in the thread I said it would have been easier to block the suez by scuttling the Ever Given, but it seems like the Ever Given only floats about four meters above the bottom of the canal, so if it was scuttled it'd still be sticking out of the water looking completely normal, and could be refloated fairly quickly by pumping the water out again. Similarly with blowing the boat up, it'd be much easier to remove debris that you don't care about damaging.

In this case, they're trying their best to not damage the boat as they dig it out, and thus it's going to take a lot more time and effort to get it unstuck.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:21 AM on March 25


That ship ain't moving until this thread gets at least 400 comments.

Well I think one comment per meter of overall length is the industry standard metric
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:28 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


You have to check the conversion tables for salt water vs fresh water LWL though, so in the Suez it's 1.02 comments per meter.
posted by traveler_ at 11:35 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]


Well shit. I stand corrected.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:47 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


how dare you forget the .02
posted by medusa at 11:49 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


That ship ain’t moving until this thread gets at least 400 comments.

A man needs his containers
posted by Going To Maine at 11:51 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


the pilots that take the boats through the Suez (and other canals, ports, etc) are highly-trained experts in their respective waterways

So, the pilots don't actually drive the ship or even take over command, though the ship's captain may delegate them the authority to give the helm steering and engine orders (with the captain present as the ultimate authority with veto power). Some captains don't even do that, they have the pilot recommend action to them, which they then order themselves if they agree. The pilot is the wise old-timer who knows the area like the back of his or her hand. You need to start your turn when that rock lines up with that tree, gonna need x speed to avoid drifting into there, kind of thing.

If you lose steering or propulsion, none of that knowledge is going to do you a bit of good, and the captain will immediately re-take the conn (and never gave up the 'deck', which is everything about being in charge except for driving.)
posted by ctmf at 11:55 AM on March 25 [11 favorites]


how dare you forget the .02
posted by medusa at 1:49 PM on March 25


You've got some nerve. Why don't you spend less time worrying about that .02 and more time avoiding Bob Uecker's boat.
posted by Reverend John at 12:05 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


From Reverend John's link:

Converted in 1966-67 to a self-unloading cement carrier for Medusa Cement (Cement Transit) as the MEDUSA CHALLENGER

So, Perseus was taken?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:22 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


Hey there, I'm the largest cement carrier on the great lakes. How about Bob Uecker and you other assholes avoid me?
posted by medusa at 12:23 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]


On the internet, no one knows you can automatically unload your 67,000 barrel capacity of medusa cement at the rate of 8,000 barrels per hour.
posted by medusa at 12:25 PM on March 25 [13 favorites]


Hey there, I'm the largest cement carrier on the great lakes. How about Bob Uecker and you other assholes avoid me?

Hey there, I'm a lighthouse. Your call.
posted by flabdablet at 12:31 PM on March 25 [30 favorites]


I have the phrase it's stuck, it's stuck sung in my head to the tune of Seven Drunken Nights, and it's fun. I don't have more lyrics than that, but it's a fun little ditty.
posted by Carillon at 12:31 PM on March 25


Sounds like a golden opportunity for me to finally open up my competing canal.

How about the way the Egyptians did things previously? Put it on rollers and pull it across.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:32 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


She's stuck
She's stuck
She's stuck
She's in my head

posted by flabdablet at 12:40 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


"Your goal as a ship operator should be to never have your Wikipedia link turn blue." -- @mosheroperandi

(For those who don't want to visit Twitter, this helpful advice is accompanied by a Wikipedia screenshot of a page listing all of Evergreen's ships. Almost every ship's link is red, which indicates there is no Wikipedia article for that ship. The only one in blue is Ever Given.)
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 12:52 PM on March 25 [28 favorites]


Are we at the part of the disaster movie yet where the protagonist realizes the only solution is to blow it up in a massive, possibly nuclear, explosion. I hear that President Sisi has been in touch with the Oregon Highway department to see if they could provide some technical assistance given their past experience blowing up beached obstructions.
posted by interogative mood at 12:53 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]


The person who posted the photo also said that she thought this was the ship that “cut them off” (however you do that at that scale) on their way into the canal.

This comment and the one a couple below it concern a couple of boats racing across the Great Lakes. This blog post gives more details; at $2000.00/hr to operate and 4+ hours to refuel, there is a financial incentive to cut in line. I’m sure the stakes get even bigger with bigger ships like this. And based on the the blog post I linked, captains who engage in risky behavior aren’t sanctioned in any meaningful way unless there is a crash. Add to that the ever increasing production pressures alluded to elsewhere in this thread that are totally consistent with late-stage capitalism, and we can expect to see more big mishaps like this. At least this one didn’t involve loss of life, like El Faro. Or even complete loss of cargo, like the Golden Ray.
posted by TedW at 1:43 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Just saw a news article that snapped everything into place.
  • The ship is 400m long
  • The delays due to the blockage are now $400m per fucking hour.
  • This thread needs to get to 400 comments in order to unblock the ship.
Boom! We make a deal with the United Nations or some shit and MeFi is funded for the the next 4000 years.
posted by jeremias at 3:48 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


That staggering price tag per hour is why I think that, while the salvage crews don’t particularly want to destroy the ship or the cargo, they aren’t going to take any particular care to avoid damage if it gets in the way of removing the block. The thing they’re there to salvage is the Suez Canal.
posted by notoriety public at 3:57 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


The delays due to the blockage are now $400m per fucking hour.

It is delaying $400 million an hour in goods, thats not an actual loss, if this drags on they will all just sail around South Africa.
50 ships per day costing an extra $350,000 each for the longer route = $17.5 million per day or $730,000 per hour.

The MV Ever Given is worth around $100 million
posted by Lanark at 4:02 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Have they tried taking the air out of the tires?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:06 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


Or to put this another way each day $400m of goods will cost an extra $0.73m to deliver which is less than 0.2% of the goods value.
posted by Lanark at 4:06 PM on March 25


This story just keeps on Given
posted by unearthed at 4:24 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


It is delaying $400 million an hour in goods, thats not an actual loss

It costs a quarter-million dollars in fees to just go through the Suez Canal and every day about 50 ships go through so Egypt is losing $12.5M daily in government revenues, which is probably a pretty big deal to them. It's a straight loss for the Egyptian government, plus they have to deal with costs associated with fixing everything.
posted by GuyZero at 4:49 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


The person who posted the first photo on Instagram has taken their account private.
posted by anshuman at 4:49 PM on March 25


I mean, I calculate they lose roughly 0.003% of their annual government revenues every day, which, sure, not a big deal, but I'd sure they'd rather lose 0.0%.
posted by GuyZero at 4:49 PM on March 25


Have they tried turning it off and back on again?
posted by exlotuseater at 4:52 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


the person who posted the first photo on instagram has taken their account private

And the video from the captain of one of the ships waiting on line was removed from youtube. I was actually really surprised by that video, you never see videos of the global shipping routes like this.

But I bet just this one event has educated a lot of people about the fragility of the global supply chain...
posted by subdee at 5:03 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]



https://gcaptain.com/maritime-word-of-the-day-allision/


google cache of
'https://www.vesseltracker.com/de/Ships/Ever-Given-9811000.html'
from googling 'ever given hamburg'"
Die neuesten Nachrichten
Investigations against captain after allision
Tue Feb 12 10:06:13 CET 2019 Timsen


The "Ever Given" remained moored at the ECT Delta Container Terminal in Rotterdam on Feb 12, while the investigations were going on. The "Finkenwerder" was pulled to the Shipyard von Cölln, Finkenwerder, on Feb 10 at 7 a.m. The ferry pier in Blankenese including the restaurants Fischclub and Ponton op’n Bulln remained closed for an indefinite time. Investigators were on scene in the afternoon of Feb 11. The police in Hamburg investigated against the 39 year old Indian master of the "Ever Given" for suspected negligent assault and dangerous intervention in shipping. Two police officers remained aboard the ship during the voyage to Rotterdam. They conducted interrogations and secured the data, including the radar images and conversations between the bridge and the pilot station, as well as the voyage data recorder.
There were no indications of a blackout which could have been ascertained very quickly via the voyage data recorder. A navigation error appeared as a more likely cause of the accident. At the time of the collision, two pilots were aboard the freighter.
However, they were not the focus of the investigation, because they had only anadvisory function at the unmooring maneuver at the Eurogate and the transit down the Elbe. It also became known that a tug accompanied the freighter, but had no line connection. The tug 'ZP Bulldog' had assisted at the bow and the 'ZP Boxer' at the rear which escorted the freighter on its way down the Elbe. The "Ever Given", a Megamax carrier, was allowed to sail to a maximum of six Beaufort wind. When unmooring at 8.26 a.m. there were no wind bans. At the time of the allision at 9:28 a.m. the wind speed in Hamburg was five to six Beaufort from the southwest. Two minutes after the accident , a wind ban was issued by the traffic control Cuxhaven. The wind strengths were already strong and the weather conditions got worse.
The "Ever Given" left Rotterdam again on Feb 12 at 8.45 p.m. and headed to Suez, ETA Feb 19.
German report with video:
https://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/ndr_aktuell/Warum-kam-der-Frachter-in-Blankenese-vom-Kurs-ab,ndraktuell49188.html
Ever Given released after investigations
Sun Feb 10 12:52:09 CET 2019 Timsen

The "Ever Given" was released on Feb 9 after the police in Brunsbüttel had finished their investigations. The ship had only suffered scrapes and dents at the starboard side aft but remained seaworthy. It berthed at the ECT Delta Container Terminal in the Amazone Port of Rotterdam on Feb 10 at 10.10 a.m. where the German police continued its investigations. Initially it was thought that the ship had suffered a blackout, but now it looked like a storm gust had pushed the vessel to port side. The damage to the ferry and the ferry pontoons was at least several 100.000 Euro. The ferry berth in Blankenese will have to remain closed for an indefinite time due to the damage suffered. The future of the "Finkenwerder" was uncertain in regard of the enormous damage to superstructure, wheelhouse and hull. The ferry was pulled to the Shipyard von Cölln, Finkenwerder, on Feb 10 at 7 a.m.
Photos:
http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=2966954
http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=2966953
http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=2966949
Allision on the Elbe
Sat Feb 09 11:18:08 CET 2019 Timsen

The "Ever Given" veered off course on the Elbe off Blankenese in the foremidday of Feb 9, 2019. It had left the Eurogate Terminal in Hamburg-Waltershof at 9.40 a.m. bound to Rotterdam. The ship became unmanoeverable and despite tug assistance it slammed into the passenger ferry "Finkenwerder" which was berthed at the ferry pier in Blankenese. There were no passengers on board. The crew escaped unhurt, but the ferry was severely damaged. It suffered a breach above the waterline, and the upper deck and the wheelhouse were destroyed. The fire brigade attended with three units. The "Ever Given" proceeded towards Brunsbüttel where investigators of the police would board the ship. The police boat "Bürgermeister Weichmann" was deployed to the scene. The ship resumed its voyage to Rotterdam the same day and berthed at the ECT Delta Container Terminal in the Amazone Port on Feb 10 at 10.10 a.m.
German reports with photos and video:
https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/hamburg/Blankenese-Frachter-rammt-Faehre-auf-der-Elbe,schiffskollision212.html
https://www.hamburg1.de/nachrichten/39213/400_Meter_Schiff_kollidiert_mit_HADAG_Faehre.html
http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/hamburg-frachter-rammt-faehre-auf-der-elbe-a-1252468.html
https://www.noz.de/deutschland-welt/vermischtes/artikel/1651393/400-meter-langes-containerschiff-kollidiert-auf-elbe-mit-faehre#gallery&66950&0&1651393
http://forum.shipspotting.com/index.php?topic=16489.0

2019 Youtube: Container Ship "Ever Given" Allided with Berthed Ferry "Finkenwerder" in Hamburg
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:18 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]




from chaoticgouda on tumblr:
shipment officers, gently nudging Ever Given with their 8 tugboats: Ever Given move out of the way please so you don’t block the entire global trade
Ever Given, her lamplights enormous: you SHOVE ever given? you shove her hull like the big boulder? oh! oh! no commerce for human! no commerce for human for One Thousand Years!!!
posted by Going To Maine at 5:27 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]




I's the b'y that wedges the boat
And I's the b'y that sails her
I's the b'y that jams up the trade
So no one gets home to Lizer

Get the backhoe, get it to go
Get the backhoe, dig it down
International shipping has stalled
All around the Suez
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:50 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


Inevitable Ever Given/Suez Canal slash fic on AO3.

fandom ship dynamics
...

For anyone unfamiliar with the concept of a “ship,” it’s a very popular term within fandom, a shortened form of the word “relationship” that’s used both as a noun to describe a romantic pairing you love (e.g. “Han/Leia is my favorite ship”), and a verb to describe the act of “shipping” that pairing, or rooting for them to get together and live happily ever after (e.g. “I ship Rory/Paris”).

The key to this meme is that it doesn’t actually involve a discussion of specific ships.

...
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:58 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Don't make me dig out the Melville.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:00 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


If the Melville is too firmly embedded, it's best to have a doctor extract it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:47 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Pounded in the canal by a giant container ship
posted by Going To Maine at 7:16 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


I just got home from work is it still stuck?
posted by vrakatar at 7:16 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Still stuck.

In the muck.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:18 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


fuuuuuck.
posted by vrakatar at 7:19 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


That's bad luck
posted by rodlymight at 7:24 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Finally, a use for those 50 gallon drums of lube they sell on Amazon.

You can stick your cargo ship up your canal...sideways...and without the aid of lubricant.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:24 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Egypt issued a RFP today looking for suppliers who can provide 59 tons of Colace on short notice to deal with a blockage.
posted by interogative mood at 8:15 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


You can stick your cargo ship up your canal...sideways...and without the aid of lubricant.

Remember, only stick cargo ships with flanged bases up your canal.
posted by polymath at 8:36 PM on March 25 [9 favorites]


> Your goal as a ship operator should be to never have your Wikipedia link turn blue.

For those who appreciate such things, there is, of course, an argument accompanying this table about whether status "In service" accurately reflects the current status of the ship.
posted by Callisto Prime at 8:40 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


> I need to find more channels/accounts/podcasts on logistical nightmares

cendawanita, you may appreciate the podcast "Cautionary Tales". I'm not sure if it's active right now, but I've burned through about half of the archives to date, and there are just so many mistakes. It's glorious.

> because it turns out this is my jam

ps. Excellent pun.
posted by Callisto Prime at 8:44 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


Oh this is totally gonna be mentioned on the next Well There’s Your Problem
posted by SansPoint at 9:02 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


All this talk of ships makes me want to reread The Shipping News again.
posted by emjaybee at 9:22 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


"When you drive a boat, you are always in drift. You are attached to nothing. Stuff happens in the water beneath you that does not make any intuitive sense.
Sometimes your stern (your tail) moves faster than your bow (your nose), and in a different direction.
same direction at the same speed, but it’s not the direction the bow is pointed. On a boat, you don’t always go where you’re pointed."

The bank effect and the big boat blocking the Suez
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:58 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


The boat as metaphor
posted by Going To Maine at 10:19 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


I'm just trying to help get to 400 comments.
posted by SystematicAbuse at 10:43 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


I live near the site of one of the deadliest, most gruesome groundings in maritime history. The wreck of the City of Columbus.
Basic story at w-pedia.
Comprehensive report from 1884.
posted by vrakatar at 11:00 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


This whole situation led me to finding out about the Yellow Fleet, which I thought was really interesting! Essentially during the 6 day war, the Egyptians scuttled ships and blocked the canal, trapping 15 ships in the canal for 8 years! They became known as the yellow fleet due to the sand and dust buildup.
posted by Carillon at 11:08 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Thinking about it I'm actually not sure if they were container ships at that point, or if it was still mainly break bulk.
posted by Carillon at 11:09 PM on March 25


[coughs, clears throat]

Far canal
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:01 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


The Suez Canal Authority have released a dramatically scored video showing them to be on top of the situation. The centerpiece of the clip is a tension-filled shot of several official-looking people on the bridge of a tugboat attached by a line to the bow of Ever Given. They watch keenly as… not much happens. In the background, someone appears to attend to a breakfast buffet.

The SCA has also said they’ll need to dredge 15,000 to 20,000 m3 (530,000 to 706,000 ft3) of sand, reaching a depth of 12-16 meters (39-52 feet), in order to re-float the stuck ship.

Several LNG tankers have been diverted to alternate destinations or are re-routing around the Cape of Good Hope. And given the large number of vessels now waiting to transit the canal, many operators of ships that would be near the back of the queue are also considering taking the longer route, since they’d likely have to wait a few days even after the blockage is cleared.
posted by theory at 12:57 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


The Guardian is crowdsourcing suggestions for freeing the ship. I'm sure that the signal to noise ratio of the responses will be exceptional.
posted by confluency at 1:13 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


Thinking about it I'm actually not sure if they were container ships at that point, or if it was still mainly break bulk.

Outside the US, the first use of a dedicated container ship was in 1966, between New York and Rotterdam. This was the SS Fairland, owned by Sea-Land Service. The only US-registered ships that were part of the Yellow Fleet were the Farrell Lines' SS African Glen and the Marine Carriers' SS Observer carrying wheat; the other countries' ships at that time could not have been container ships either.

Looking at a few photos, they were all regular cargo.
posted by Stoneshop at 2:01 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]




Hey someone in their social media department has the justify their After Effects career development course they just expensed.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:07 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]




AO3 now lists 18 works for the pairing Ever Given/Suez, including a tribute to the Tay Bridge Disaster, which begins:
Beautiful ship of Ever Given!
Alas! I am very sorry to say,
That shipping has been blocked for [pending] days,
On the 23 of March 2021,
Which will be mem’d for a very long time.
Speaking of memes, Miette has chimed in.
posted by cheshyre at 4:15 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


"1) As a former sailor here’s my hot take on the stuck boat in the Suez. I’m actually in admiration of the skill of whoever did this. They managed a crash in one of the busiest water ways and all they damaged was a wall. No lives lost. No other boat involved, no damaged cargo. A+" -- @Nature_Grrrl

Interesting thread evaluating the captain of the Ever Given, and the low quality of Suez pilots.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:16 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


double bubble: “ The Japanese owner of the giant cargo ship that has been blocking Egypt's Suez Canal since Tuesday has apologised for the disruption to global trade.”

At least they're not in denial.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:21 AM on March 26 [17 favorites]


A short news article -- a little about supply chain effects and the history of the Suez canal.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:43 AM on March 26


I am inspired to see there are women on some of these ship crews.
posted by sepviva at 4:43 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


I know this is just for scale, but I can't help imagining someone navigating the Suez Canal so poorly that their container ship ended up square in the middle of the Central Park reservoir.

By now there must be a fair number of people, supply chain managers prominently among them, wishing it to be so.
posted by Stoneshop at 4:49 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]




Holy shit, I had actually not quite realised yet just how thoroughly this ship is stuck.

All those photos showing it wedged in from one side of the channel to the other? Well, it's actually wedged about a HUNDRED METRES FURTHER than it looks.

Here's the ship's position overlaid on the depth chart for that area. The dredged channel is only the first two thirds of the width of the water there. The whole third to the east is shallows, with less depth than the draft of the Ever Given.

About a third of the ship is sitting on the bottom. A third of a 400m long ship. LITERALLY AN ENTIRE FOOTBALL FIELD of hull is sitting on the ground.

Now go back to that first photo you saw of the ship and look at how much of the red anti-fouling paint you can see. All of that is supposed to be below the waterline. But at the bow, there's like two container heights of it visible. A container is 8'6" tall. The ship has driven so far up the slope that the bow is up by TWENTY FEET.

Here's that photo again, with a cross-section showing what you're actually seeing.

That shit is STUUUUUUUUCK.
posted by automatronic at 5:03 AM on March 26 [27 favorites]


I wonder how fast it was going to beach like that. The crew must have felt the noise and realized the inertia would take them into big big problems the entire time.
posted by nickggully at 5:08 AM on March 26


I am absolutely captivated by this like nothing I've felt in some time.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:11 AM on March 26 [14 favorites]


At least they're not in denial.

Yeah, da Nile is a few hundred miles away to the west....they are in da Suez
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:16 AM on March 26 [26 favorites]


Has anybody seen the plunger 🪠?
posted by FairWitness at 5:45 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


After seeing just how stuck the Ever Given is, I have to wonder if it would just be quicker to dig a new canal around it. But I have to agree with iamkimiam that this is absolutely fascinating.
posted by TedW at 5:56 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


There's a pleasure in watching someone else work.

In this case, there's a relief in seeing an absolutely massive, star-spangled fuck-up, and knowing it wasn't your fault and it's not your job to fix it.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:34 AM on March 26 [19 favorites]


Somewhat related, if you're interested in the financial aspect of international shipping in the age of covid: "Why are Billions of Dollars Worth of Ships Being Intentionally Destroyed?", dated this past December.
posted by BWA at 6:36 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Well, the Suez is totally borked for a generation or two. Time to build an alternative canal! *Looks at map* We can start by, um, cutting across Iran here from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian, and then, uh, gee, it looks like the Volga River goes in generally the right direction, let’s try that! *lineup of ships intensifies*
posted by oulipian at 6:36 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


They could cut a relief canal across the other side of Sinai, except for the geopolitics (it'd go along the border between Israel and Egypt and cut through Gaza).
posted by acb at 6:47 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Time to build an alternative canal!

Been there, done that.
posted by BWA at 6:53 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


All the ships heading north that were waiting in the canal behind the Ever Given have been towed out (backwards). Link
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:59 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


They could cut a relief canal across the other side of Sinai, except for the geopolitics (it'd go along the border between Israel and Egypt and cut through Gaza).

"You know what this map of the Middle East needs? More straight lines!"
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:19 AM on March 26 [21 favorites]


What about just digging a small detour that zigzags around the ship? It could eventually be expanded into a second “lane” when the ship is finally dug free?
posted by purple_frogs at 7:28 AM on March 26


I need to know what website or news organization has the best liveblog or whatever for updates on this poor ship, that I am now completely obsessed with, to the point that I will read its tell-all in 40 years after the booze and pills get it thrown off several Hollywood movies it was supposed to headline. ANYWAY, best site for updates?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:41 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


I keep thinking of the current being pinched by that constriction as the tide goes in and out. The channel must be getting seriously gouged. Water behaves very freaky in conditions like this and boating nearby, for instance dredging, would be extremely hazardous.
posted by sjswitzer at 7:46 AM on March 26




I’m wondering if the ship is acting like a breakwater and with the tides, sediment is building up on one side while gouging out on the other.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:15 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


ANYWAY, best site for updates?

*Awkwardly looks around the room, slowly raises hand to respond to a moderator, and speaks in a hesitant squeaky voice*
Errr.....the one we are on now?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:30 AM on March 26 [22 favorites]


ANYWAY, best site for updates?

Yeah, who says you're not here already?

At one time the gCaptain forum was pretty good and had a lot of current and ex-professional mariners posting. But it's not what it used to be and the thread about this there is pretty thin. There are some other forums but they're similarly quiet.

Everyone working on the situation will be on strict PR lockdown, and there don't seem to be any reporters on site as it stands. So all we're getting is what trickles out in various places on the internet, and this thread has already aggregated more of that than I've seen anywhere else.
posted by automatronic at 8:34 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


That said - the news stories on the main gCaptain site, as opposed to the forum threre, are providing quite a lot of updates and context.
posted by automatronic at 8:41 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


They could cut a relief canal across the other side of Sinai, except for the geopolitics (it'd go along the border between Israel and Egypt and cut through Gaza).

HAHAHAHAHA! And they thought Global Warming was a scam.... HELLOOOO Northwest Passage!
posted by mikelieman at 8:49 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


How could the Ever Given be moved?
An unnamed Egyptian canal authority official told late on Thursday that they would need to remove between 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters (530,000 to 706,000 cubic feet) of sand to reach a depth of 12 to 16 meters (39 to 52 feet). That depth is likely to allow the ship to float freely again, it said.
Dredging
“The focus now is on dredging to remove sand and mud from around the port side of the vessel’s bow. In addition to the dredgers already on site a specialised suction dredger is now with the vessel and will shortly begin work. This dredger can shift 2,000 cubic metres of material every hour,” said the ship management company.
How a trailing suction hopper dredge works
How cutter suction dredging works
These machines do not fuck around
You never know what you'll find
posted by flabdablet at 8:57 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


One of the things I've learned from reading about this is that these ships are big enough to be represented in actual size on maps once you zoom in somewhat. I had never thought about that, but if they are a quarter of a mile long, that would make sense.
posted by TedW at 9:07 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Interesting about the suction dredgers. Doing the math, they could move enough sand in about 10 hours. Two thoughts, though, after watching the videos: (1) they may not hit that max speed with Evergreen in their way. (2) That is a fuck-ton of nasty old-canal sand. They’ll have to deposit it (environmentally, logistically, and politically safely) ... where?
posted by anshuman at 9:17 AM on March 26


That is a fuck-ton of nasty old-canal sand. They’ll have to deposit it (environmentally, logistically, and politically safely) ... where?

Next to the canal. This is Egypt, and the area is basically good for nothing except being just the area next to the canal. Which might or might not be dug up anyway to make a second lane, with several orders of magnitude more fucktons of nasty old next-to-canal (aka desert) sand having to be deposited elsewhere. Which is not without precedent.
posted by Stoneshop at 9:32 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


It's clearly Project Chariot's time to shine!
posted by Carillon at 9:34 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Israel could build a canal going through the Dead Sea Valley. The impact on the environment and fresh water supplies would be pretty catastrophic, but it has been considered in the past.
posted by interogative mood at 9:35 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Dredging operations around the Ever Given ship blocking Egypt's Suez Canal at 87% of target: Chairman
Ahram Online, Friday 26 Mar 2021
posted by flabdablet at 9:36 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


The dredge in use is the cutter suction dredge Mashhour which at 140x22m is a much better scale match to the Ever Given than that cute little 20 ton excavator.
posted by flabdablet at 9:39 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Thank you, Stoneshop. What a smelly place that must be.
posted by anshuman at 9:40 AM on March 26


Are we at the part of the disaster movie yet where the protagonist realizes the only solution is to blow it up in a massive, possibly nuclear, explosion.

This appears to be the perfect thread to share my marine-salvage-themed horror movie list!

Deep Rising My favorite in this genre. Pluses: packed with character actors, including Wes Studi, Cliff Curtis and the masterfully annoying Kevin J. O'Connor. Minuses: slightly dated CGI monster effects, the sequel-friendly ending did not result in a sequel.

Virus Pluses: Non-superhero comic-book movie, Jamie Lee Curtis (as the "final woman," of course) and Cliff Curtis (no relation) in his second marine salvage horror movie! Minuses: the script and some of the special effects.

Ghost Ship Pluses: Gabriel Byrne, Karl Urban, Julianna Margulies as the "final woman," the 1960's aesthetic of the opening disaster. Minuses: the poster tag line (Sea Evil?), ending your movie with a Mudvayne song.

Bonus movie! Black Sea is not really a horror movie, but more of a men under pressure/disaster environment movie. Features Jude Law and the excellently-named Scoot McNairy performing submarine salvage.
posted by JDC8 at 9:42 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]


I’ve been wondering about the ships planning to detour around Africa. Why would they have enough fuel for that trip? Would the bring it just is case, or will they need to fuel up before proceeding?
posted by sjswitzer at 9:57 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Depends. Of course you'd want to bunker where it's cheapest, and in contrast with aviation there's very little penalty in just filling up even if that's more than you need for the trip.

Even if they don't have enough fuel for the detour they can definitely reach one of several ports on the way, and their HQ can wrangle the bunker stations to find the one offering maximum bonus stamps and lowest fuel price in the meantime.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:23 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


>It's clearly Project Chariot's time to shine!
'Look, just stay another day,' the man suggested. 'You never did finish telling me about - what was it, Bhughredi?'

'Yes, Bhughredi.' The old drone chuckled.

'Exactly. Bhughredi; the sea nukes and the interference effect thing or whatever it was.'

'Damnedest way to launch a ship,' the old drone agreed, and made a sighing noise.

'So what did happen?'

'Like I said, it's a long story.'
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:32 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


updates on this poor ship:

Eyebrows, you'll be pleased to hear that one of the vessels currently working to get the Ever Given unstuck is the Cabo Gee.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:17 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


What a smelly place that must be.

Pecunia non olet, and USD 700k per passage would do a lot of unstinking.

Also, dump stinky stuff in a hot arid place and it stops stinking pretty quickly.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:25 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


find the one offering maximum bonus stamps

I'm now imagining a ship's captain filling up their little stamp booklet and dreaming about what sort of knick-knack he'll be able to get by redeeming them.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:47 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


...Or are they more like frequent-fueler miles?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:47 AM on March 26


Sarah Gailey: I Like That The Boat Is Stuck.
posted by automatronic at 11:48 AM on March 26 [17 favorites]


From automatronic's link:

Unsticking the boat will require making the boat not be stuck. It won't take a year or more of isolation, or new heights of handwashing, or phone calls to legislators. It won't require the courage to face down militarized police forces or the gumption to get a shot that I know will make me feel a little bad before it makes me a lot safe. Nobody can tell me that if I just work a little harder or stop spending money on avocados or get a side hustle, the boat will get unstuck. If I did all of those things, perfectly right, right now, on tiptoes, there would still be a big stuck boat! Because those things aren't the things that need to happen. What needs to happen is: someone unsticks the boat.
posted by medusa at 11:53 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


I appreciate where Sarah Gailey is coming from but sadly it doesn't take but a brief perusal of the comments on almost any of the videos posted in this thread to show that there are plenty of utterly insane cohabitants of the USA and the planet desperately grasping for the opposite: the boat being stuck means something and they want it to mean that their cultural/social/political enemies must be righteously destroyed by any means necessary.

Sorry to be a downer. I wish it were simpler.
posted by glonous keming at 12:02 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


the boat being stuck means something

It means a bad year for insurers on top of everyone else.
posted by BWA at 12:05 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Israel could build a canal going through the Dead Sea Valley. The impact on the environment and fresh water supplies would be pretty catastrophic, but it has been considered in the past.

How comfortable would Israel be with a lot of large ships sweeping through its territory? A large bulk carrier of opaque registration would make a pretty workable Trojan horse. And applying intelligence-driven background checks on a par with those you get as a tourist visiting Israel would make the canal uncompetitive with the Suez.
posted by acb at 12:07 PM on March 26


That ship ain't moving until this thread gets at least 400 comments.

So we hit just 400 comments....did it get unstuck? Oh shit sorry...keep forgetting the 1.02 freshwater conversion thing...
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:21 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


According to this overhead photo, the dredger is pumping out, not onshore, but further upstream (? further north) which seems like a... temporary fix. Enough to swing the bow around, sure. This time.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:53 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


It looks like they are dumping the sand from the dredger upstream and into the already too shallow part of the channel. Seems like a reasonable place as the goal is to get the ship back into the regularly dredged part of the channel. They definitely aren't trying to fix the overall width of the navigable channel at this time.
posted by HiddenInput at 1:05 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]




There is a lot of agriculture along the Suez, made possible by fresh water aqueducts from the Nile delta region. If you look at satellite imagery of the stuck ship location you can see irrigated land quite close by the west bank. So if there is any polluted sand dredged from the Suez, ideally it wouldn't be dumped on land right there. The aqueducts actually pass beneath the Suez at a few points to bring fresh water to the east bank too.
posted by theory at 1:40 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]




Part of me is happy that other people are happy. I mean, it's not like any of our feelings one way or another are going to have much impact over unsticking the ship. But I have started worrying (from self-interest) about all the containers getting caught up in this mess and (from, uh, global self-interest) about all the extra fuel being used to go around the Cape of Good Hope. (And it's been pointed out that the crew of these ships are having a miserable time right now. )
posted by grandiloquiet at 2:05 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Noting that the trip around Cape of Good Hope isn’t just longer, it’s more dangerous
posted by anshuman at 2:25 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Lexi Alexander الكسندرا ميراي @Lexialex
Watching news on the Suez crisis in diff languages. The West is all jokes & market speculations. To hear about seafarers stuck after being away for a year, ships not carrying enough provisions, risks to the region due to rising oil & gas prices, you have to watch news in Arabic
5:07 AM · Mar 26, 2021·Twitter for iPhone
1,388 Retweets 63 Quote Tweets 4,354 Likes
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:30 PM on March 26 [29 favorites]


Not sure what it means when the New York Times starts reporting on regional boating accidents but I guess it's a thing.
posted by ardgedee at 3:00 PM on March 26


It means the nytimes is deeply committed to being unserious.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:13 PM on March 26


Watching news on the Suez crisis in diff languages. The West is all jokes & market speculations. To hear about seafarers stuck after being away for a year, ships not carrying enough provisions, risks to the region due to rising oil & gas prices, you have to watch news in Arabic

Somewhat relatedly, this 2017 op-doc from the NYT that catalogs a day of shore-leave for some big ship sailors at the port of Felixstowe in England.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:28 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Now there are copycats.

(And I know this is a serious situation, that there are a lot of negative impacts in a lot of different ways. I just can't resist making jokes).
posted by nubs at 4:43 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


...Or are they more like frequent-fueler miles?

Just for being a member you get free WiFI and coffee, and when you fill up with at least 3 million gallons, a free shower, meal, or reserved parking spot.
posted by mikelieman at 5:50 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Is there some kind of boat-signal we can shine in the sky to let Werner Herzog know we need his help? We might even get a Fitzcarraldo sequel out of it.
posted by oulipian at 7:28 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Big Boat is Stuck

This is Big Boat.

This is Big Boat’s important job.

Every day, Big Boat carries big boxes in the water to the other side of the world.

Big Boat steers the boxes through huge waves and under giant bridges.

She keeps the boxes safe through the scary seas.

This is her work.


Be sure to check out the illustrations and the comments.
posted by medusa at 7:53 PM on March 26 [9 favorites]


This is what happens when people stop using old navigational tech.

oh how i miss it.

And is it still stuck?
posted by vrakatar at 9:14 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]




There is a lot of agriculture along the Suez, made possible by fresh water aqueducts from the Nile delta region.

Ah, the Romans again. Could well be that Marc Antony promised to have them built in return for a bit of snogging with Cleopatra.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:54 AM on March 27


And is it still stuck?

Yep!
posted by Reverend John at 7:33 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]








> So we hit just 400 comments

something something longboat
posted by glonous keming at 8:22 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Ah, it's stuck,
It's stuck you silly old fool,
still you can not see
That's a lovely canal lock that me mother sent to me
Well, it's many a day I've travelled a hundred miles or more
But a canal lock with containers on it I never saw before
posted by Carillon at 8:34 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


something something longboat

shipposting on the internet.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:09 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]




Huh, I thought Captain Sloane was heading up the salvage effort but he’s reporting from his home in South Africa.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:30 AM on March 27


Is there a back up for the Panama canal? Because it seems like we (the… globe? Not sure who) might want to fund a spare canal there too.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:32 PM on March 27


Really interesting breakdown of the AIS data including details on the collosal effort of the two ships behind Evergiven that somehow didn't hit her.
posted by danapiper at 12:42 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


On the one hand, adding lanes to the Panama Canal is hard, because you have to go uphill and downhill so you have to build locks. On the other hand, Panama built an extra, wider lane (for a total of 3) that opened in 2016.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:02 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Is there a back up for the Panama canal?

I was curious about this before!

Most of the Panama Canal is a big lake. There are multiple locks at each end of Gatun Lake, an old pair and a new, larger pair.

There's no backup for the narrow bits of the canal. They already have to schedule the narrow bits for one-way traffic because blah blah boat nonsense. It would cost many gerjillion dollars to blast new narrow bits out of the rock.

The most likely backup to the Panama Canal would probably be one of the endless series of plans to build a canal across Nicaragua.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:06 PM on March 27


grandiloquiet: it's been pointed out that the crew of these ships are having a miserable time right now.

And not just these ships. Because of COVID, many crews now have to work for much longer without being able to get off the ship for leasure time, and their trips often last a lot longer, so it takes longer until they get to see their families. Many of them are basically stuck on the ship. It's been a rotten year to work as a sailor and it's not over yet.
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55802514
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:08 PM on March 27 [11 favorites]


It would cost many gerjillion dollars to blast new narrow bits out of the rock.

The blasting itself could be cheap or even free (to the Panama Canal Company) if they put up a sign "Test your new explosives here. Obtain licenses at the Panama DoD. Please clean up after you're done".
posted by Stoneshop at 1:32 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


https://inews.co.uk/news/world/suez-canal-grounded-ever-given-cargo-ship-moves-17-metres-refloated-egypt-932726
The cargo ship that blocked the Suez canal and caused a backlog of vessels affecting global trade has reportedly been moved 17 metres to the north.

It is hoped that the Ever Given, which is grounded in the canal, will move further as high tide hits at approximately 10pm Cairo time (8pm GMT).

...
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:49 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


like when you're trying to move a couch and you finally hear a squeak on the floor
posted by Countess Elena at 1:52 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Smit, the salvage company battling to dislodge the ship that’s blocking the Suez Canal said a crane will arrive at the location this weekend to begin the painstaking process of removing some of the vessel’s cargo in a bid to help it refloat.

...Berdowski said a land crane would be brought in at the weekend which could lighten the Ever Given’s load by removing containers, though experts have warned that such a process could be complex and lengthy.

“If we don’t succeed in getting it loose next week, we will have to remove some 600 containers from the bow to reduce the weight,” he said.

“That will set us back days at least, because where to leave all those containers will be quite a puzzle.”
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:25 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Previously, after a fashion,
posted by acb at 3:28 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


“That will set us back days at least, because where to leave all those containers will be quite a puzzle.”

I’m sure there’s a reason not to but, could they just stack them on the other end of the ship? I feel like that would make the whole process faster/more effective but I am not a boat surgeon
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:54 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


could they just stack them on the other end of the ship?

Modern container ships are pretty carefully loaded for balance, center of gravity, etc. I believe the risk there would be worries about it capsizing/flipping over.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:07 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


“That will set us back days at least, because where to leave all those containers will be quite a puzzle.”

Pretty sure if you line them up with no gaps they just disappear.
posted by notoriety public at 4:09 PM on March 27 [27 favorites]


You can Towers-of-Hanoi them right back where they were after the ship is refloated.
posted by acb at 4:09 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


> Pretty sure if you line them up with no gaps they just disappear.

The more experienced loading master person-in-charge (PIC)s start by eliminating the z-shaped and s-shaped containers, long before they try to slot in an 160 foot container.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:21 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


At this rate the Ever Given will be the first container ship to reach level 36.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:41 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


I think high tide's come and gone, but the ship hasn't.

Decent amount of details here:
Ship blocking Suez Canal moves slightly, unclear when it will refloat
March 28 2021 12:37 AM (local)

posted by sebastienbailard at 4:42 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


It's not brain surgery, but it is boat surgery.
posted by medusa at 4:48 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Sea Shanty Tiktok is producing new material about the situation.
posted by automatronic at 4:49 PM on March 27


From what I've heard, they're also worried about breaking the ship, though I don't know whether moving the containers increases that risk.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:53 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


What do you guys think, is this truck blocking the highway a real photo from yesterday?

All I can find is posts on weibo and twitter, and like chinatimes who seem like they got the photo from weibo. It seems a little too on the nose.

The comments on the China Times article are funny though, if it's for real and not a hoax: "First air, then land, but it'll be difficult to block the sky" XD.

They also say it's an Evergreen container, but the truck operator would be a different company.

China Times.
posted by subdee at 8:06 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Another picture from social media, the bottom one seems like it's datestamped from 2014 so maybe some joker on weibo decided to dig up an old image...
posted by subdee at 8:08 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


I've since heard that there's also a worry that the ship could break on its own-- the tide flexes the ship, and bending metal back and forth can break it.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:37 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Once they free the ship, I wonder what they will do to prevent this from happening again? Can you imagine how horrible it would be if the very next ship to go through gets stuck?
posted by jeremias at 4:08 AM on March 28


Another reason they can’t just stack containers on the other end of the ship is that the other end of the ship is over 1000 feet away, on the other side of the canal- and the other end is kinda stuck too.
posted by rockindata at 4:28 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine how horrible it would be if the very next ship to go through gets stuck?

The Story of Everest.
posted by whuppy at 4:30 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Some more snippets of video from the refloating operation:

Video from the bridge of one of the tugs pulling hopelessly at the stern a day or two ago.
New sizzle reel from the Suez Canal Authority has footage from the cutter suction dredger working at the bow.
Another video from one of the tugs showing them honking in chorus as they manage to move the ship slightly.

It will be interesting what happens when they do shift it though, because it sounds like the bow got holed on its way up the bank.

From gCaptain's summary of updates from the ship management company (BSM), on Friday:

“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.

Remember that the bow is currently 20 feet up the slope from the level it should be floating at, so the flooding may get worse once it comes back down. And unless they dig out the entire forward end of the ship, whatever made those holes as it went up the bank, will still be there to make new ones as it comes back down again...
posted by automatronic at 5:47 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Can you imagine how horrible it would be if the very next ship to go through gets stuck?

I thought I read that this ship is actually larger than is supposed to be allowed through the canal? If so, enforcing the size rule would be a good start.
posted by Glinn at 6:04 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Glinn, there was a early claim that the ship was too big for the canal. This doesn't seem to be true.

The most recent theory is that there was a temporary loss of power to the ship's steering, and some wind (the ships have such high sides they're like SUVs for wind, only ever so much more so) at the worst moment.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:19 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


I wanted to make sure you have this Twitter thread from Marine Traffic: "We’ve seen a lot of very funny memes about the #EverGiven situation, so let’s start a thread. Post your favourite memes below. "
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:39 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


The most recent theory is that there was a temporary loss of power to the ship's steering

Not even that, but even a slight sideways drift towards the eastern bank could easily have caused some forward part of the hull to scrape the bottom of the canal (vide: cross-section diagram and the depth charts), which would be like your car's front right wheel to hit an (even minor) obstruction when driving on a slippery road: it will cause a forceful slew to the right. In this case there's 200 thousand tons at a speed of a couple of knots behind it, still pushing forward, so that slewing is impossible to stop before the bow seriously embeds itself in the eastern bank, while the stern slews left until it hits the western bank.

Result: Ever Given quite thoroughly stuck, and with it a couple of hundred other vessels waiting to use the canal only somewhat less so.
posted by Stoneshop at 7:07 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Anyone know if the bow hole can be repaired from within? (I don’t imagine it would be seaworthy, but enough to get it past the canal)?
posted by anshuman at 7:15 AM on March 28


early claim that the ship was too big for the canal. This doesn't seem to be true
Technically accurate, as the ship appears to fit in the actual canal, but may be so sensitive to wind as to be not actually navigable?
posted by theora55 at 7:59 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Anyone know if the bow hole can be repaired from within?

One such fix would be to pressurise the breached compartment with air, basically blowing out the water until it's level with the leak. If that's on (or near) the bottom, you've regained almost all buoyancy.
posted by Stoneshop at 8:16 AM on March 28


theora55, it would probably be more exact to say that the ship was permitted by the rules-- it wasn't something stupid like a driver trying to take a truck which wouldn't fit under a clearly marked bridge.

There's going to be a lot of investigation into this accident, and for all I know, they'll revise the rules.

The good news, such as it is, is that the Ever Given is one of the biggest ships in the world, so they might not need to exclude a lot of ships.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 8:26 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Here's a video showing the ship's movements leading up to the grounding, which paints quite an interesting picture of how this happened.

It's particularly interesting to watch the speed (marked as SOG - speed over ground - in the info box next to the ship).

The official speed limit on the Suez canal is 14 km/h which is 7.6 knots. As the ship enters the canal it's already doing 8 knots and rising.

There's a good reason to be keeping the speed high. When steering with a rudder, your steering force is directly related to speed through the water. You need to have enough speed to keep the ship controllable - this is called "steerage way", and it varies with conditions.

On this morning, there's a howling wind blowing from the south. As the ship enters the canal travelling northeast, it's being blown dangerously close to the left side of the channel. The speed increases to 11 knots as they try to steer her back to starboard, into the centre of the canal.

Then they come to a bend where the canal turns north. Taking that turn, they overcorrect to the left at first and end up well off to the left again. They then end up on a straight heading which takes them across the bend and through the centre of the channel again, but are late to turn again and end up well to the right of the channel at the start of the straight section of the canal going north.

By this time, their speed is up to 13 knots.

They try a couple of times to get the ship to come back to the left. Each time, she turns at first, but swings back and her course stays on the right side of the channel. The wind may have had a lot to do with this - it's still blowing from behind and will have been hitting the port side of the ship each time they tried to turn that way, straightening it out again.

Then they try a third time, with a bit more rudder, and she finally starts moving across the channel - but they've overcorrected. She ends up dangerously close to the left side of the channel again, so they steer to the right - but they've overcorrected again and it's here that she runs aground.

You can see the speed drop slightly as they try to slow her down, but the engines can only take off half a knot before she hits the shore at 12.5 knots and starts decelerating rapidly.

I wouldn't want to draw premature conclusions about how this happened, but it looks a lot like it was simply not safe to operate this ship in these conditions. The speed necessary for her to maintain steerage way and controllability seems to have been in excess of what was safe and permitted in the canal.
posted by automatronic at 8:32 AM on March 28 [44 favorites]


The Ever Green is the exact maximum length permitted by the Canal authorities. That is entirely intentional. Lowering the maximum length would make a number of very expensive ships less useful.
posted by rdr at 8:36 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


rdr, thank you.

I was just going off of Al Jazeera saying that the Ever Given was one of the biggest ships in the world, and naively assuming there was a bell curve with just a few ships at the maximum size rather than there being rather a lot of ships that big because of a rule.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 8:41 AM on March 28


> Here's a video showing the ship's movements leading up to the grounding, which paints quite an interesting picture of how this happened.

Incidentally, that video resolves something I'd been wondering about for a couple days: Who was the last to make it through the Suez before the wreck.

That ship's name is apparently the Cosco Galaxy, currently off the coast of Portugal near Cascais, and I'm betting that for a few days now the captain and crew have been feeling like the luckiest people on Earth.
posted by ardgedee at 9:03 AM on March 28 [9 favorites]


Watching those tracking videos feels like watching a comedy version of The Wire Season 2
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:08 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


On that list of large container ships is the OOCL Japan at 399.9 meters, which has already gotten stuck in the Suez Canal twice, in June 2018 and October 2017.

A cursory google search yielded:

A 400 meter container ship grounded

Another 400 meter ship grounded

I don't know how often smaller vessels are grounded but to my naïve eyes it seems like there's a problem.
posted by rdr at 9:08 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


> it seems like there's a problem.

Capitalism. It's always capitalism.
posted by glonous keming at 9:13 AM on March 28 [10 favorites]


Here's a short video about the challenge of moving the Ever Given. (Though they don't address the additional complications of the flooding.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:15 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


"naively assuming there was a bell curve with just a few ships at the maximum size rather than there being rather a lot of ships that big because of a rule."

This is true of just about every important shipping route. Even the comparatively minor Illinois Waterway (a 273-mile waterway, consisting primarily of the Illinois River and the Chicago San & Ship Canal, which connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, and thereby the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Gulf of Mexico) has a standard-largest-ship. The locks on the Illinois Waterway are built to the Ohio River standard, which is 110 feet wide by 600 feet long. Barges are therefore ~35 feet wide and 200 feet long (tows are usually 150ish). Going through the locks is time consuming (the one at Starved Rock in Utica IL takes about 30 minutes, so a double tow flotilla (which is typical) will take about 90 minutes to get through the locks. So shippers on EVERY major shipping lane want to maximize the amount of boat/cargo space they can put through a) locks; b) canals; and into c) ports, and they will ALL build up to the max size. (And the waterway maintainer will also dredge the navigable channel to EXACTLY the depth and width that the largest boats that can navigate the locks/canal require, and not one inch deeper.)

My kids are obsessed with Panamax ships (the biggest ones that can go through the Panama Canal), so we have spent countless hours watching YouTube videos of Panamaxes in the canal. And we've gone on family trips to watch locks and dams along the Illinois River; it's pretty rare to see less-than-full-flotillas of barges go through the locks. (I mean, they do, and recreational boats hitch a ride in the empty barge space, but you don't see it a lot.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:31 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


"We’ve seen a lot of very funny memes about the #EverGiven situation.....

Most of the ones I have seen sucked.
posted by thelonius at 9:39 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Can the ships stuck behind Ever Given be towed/ navigated out of the canal?
posted by theora55 at 10:00 AM on March 28


That's a great analysis, automatronic. That may very well be what happened. I'm not a ship driver, but I have been the communications person for the pilot and the captain on the bridge many times. It sounds like a real conversation that would be happening up there. Although, if that WAS what was going on, most captains I know would be risk-averse enough to reject the passage until the wind was more favorable. Peacetime military though, so no financial incentive.

it's still blowing from behind and will have been hitting the port side of the ship each time they tried to turn that way, straightening it out again.

Again, not a big ship driver, but I'd expect that effect to only be a thing at very small angles. I would think there would be some tipping point where the wind catches you full on the side and tends to blow you downwind broadside like a leaf. Usually tracking dead downwind in a storm is not a thing you want to do if you can help it.
posted by ctmf at 10:01 AM on March 28


Checked it out, this page seems to confirm a stern wind can make the ship course-unstable, hence needing more speed. Not to turn, but to keep from uncommanded turns. It would be interesting to see if similar-sized ships had been experiencing course difficulty that same day.
posted by ctmf at 10:09 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


theora55: If you look at vesselfinder here you can see that the only vessels currently in this section of the canal are tugs, the dredging cutter and some other workhorses.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:16 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


MV Ever Given: Why can’t it be pulled out?”

Some easy math for us non-math types.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:23 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


@ctmf - you have more knowledge of big ships than me, then. My experience is from steering ships of 50-200 tons or so. So I'm familiar with the dynamics of how these things work but at a different scale. When scaled down and sped up like in that video though, it all feels very familiar to me.

About what happens with the wind astern - I guess it depends on how the windage is distributed fore and aft. With a lot of surface area forward, you'd tend to straighten out and stabilise on a downwind course; with more surface area astern, you'd be unstable as the wind would grab the stern and keep it turning. I'm used to having a bunch of masts and rigging up front, which probably responds quite differently to a flat slab like that ship.

I think you're right that it's the unstable configuration in this case. Watching again, my guess is that on those first two attempts to get her to come left on the straight, they must have been bringing the rudder back to starboard after starting the turn to port, anticipating the wind grabbing the stern and trying to stop it getting out of hand. But on both those attempts, they fail to actually turn the ship as a result. Then they go a third time and let her go just a little further, and the wind grabs the stern and takes her hard over to port.

After that, the outcome may have been inevitable - they were either going to hit the west bank as a result of that turn to port, or hit the east bank, as they did, once they got her going the other way.

In a broader sense, this accident may have been inevitable as soon as they entered the canal. Once they were in, they couldn't slow down without losing steerage way, and they couldn't speed up without having too little room to maneuver safely. A marine version of coffin corner.
posted by automatronic at 11:14 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


Thanks, stoneshop. someone posted about the possibility of ships with livestock being stuck, so I'm glad that particular mess is probably avoided.
posted by theora55 at 11:55 AM on March 28


The person who posted the first photo on Instagram has taken their account private.
The person who posted the first photo on Instagram has lost a ton of copyright revenue.
posted by theora55 at 11:56 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Some easy math for us non-math types.

With a strong dose of incorrect assumptions and miscalculations, resulting in a wildly wrong number for the force (and from that the number of tugs) needed to pull the Ever Given out of the canal bank.

If you consider an oblong box partly sitting partly on a table, you'll find it's easier to rotate the box by pushing or pulling the overhanging end than to pull straight in the direction of the longest dimension. Explaining this fully requires quite a bit of math and physics, but I expect you can see (and test) this being so. It wouldn't even be possible to pull the hapless ship straight out; they'll have to rotate it. And once it starts to rotate the profile of the canal bottom will help push the ship away from the shallower part of the canal.
He also ignores that, while the entire ship weighs 200000 tons (and if that's 200000 cars, they would be very small ones by current standards) with about 1/3 stuck, that part is still getting lift from the displaced water, so the weight pressing down on the canal bottom is quite a bit less than the 60000 tons he's using in his calculations. And finally the frictional coefficient he uses (0.5) is for dry sand; even with a 5% water content it drops dramatically to 0.3, and gets close to 0.25 with 10% water content. So that's at least 40% less force required from that aspect alone.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:57 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]




Suez canal: Syria 'rations' fuel as efforts to free stuck ship fail.
Syrian authorities say they have begun rationing fuel as the blockage of the Suez canal stretched into a sixth day, delaying vital shipments and worsening the country’s oil shortages.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011 and faces a severe economic crisis. It had already announced a more than 50% rise in the price of petrol in mid-March.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:45 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


And about the force required to dislodge the Ever Given: Peter Berdowski. top executive at BosKalis (the parent company of Smit Salvage) and reporting that they now have a sea-going tug in place and another arriving tomorrow morning, "They have 400 tons of pulling power, significantly more than the 65 to 80 tons the currently used harbour tugs have. But this is about the maximum pulling force you can apply, else you're risking pulling the Ever Given apart.".

This is someone whose job it is to know this stuff, in stark contrast with some random number-juggler on the Internet.
posted by Stoneshop at 1:38 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]




Put Ever Given anywhere you want:
https://evergiven-everywhere.glitch.me/
posted by theora55 at 6:26 PM on March 28 [8 favorites]



It's been refloated.
Presumably there's a bit more work to do but that seems like a start.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 9:15 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


For those who won’t see it until the morning, when the answer may be a more definitive “no”, I love that the status of stuck-ness has been updated to “Sort of?” and they are now differentiating between “very stuck” and “floating for a bit”.
posted by alygator at 10:24 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Sounds like it needs to be inspected before getting underway, which makes sense - you want to make sure its not too damaged.
posted by nubs at 10:30 PM on March 28


If there's any question about the ship's health, are they going to let it proceed forward or drag it backwards and out of the way for inspection/repairs and let other traffic go through?
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:35 PM on March 28


You can tell I'm not a boat guy because it did not occur to me that the full moon 🌝 would be an integral part of the plan:

"The partial freeing of the vessel came after intensive efforts to push and pull the vessel with 10 tugboats when the full moon brought spring tide, raising the canal’s water level and hopes for a breakthrough" -AP
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:56 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


are they going to let it proceed forward or drag it backwards

Depends on the damage assessment.

Back to Port Suez would be quickest, but the port itself is not deep enough (8 meters) to handle the Ever Given. Still, one of the port facilities is a floating dock for vessels up to 300000 tons, so if necessary it can be docked and inspected there.

Port Said, at the other end, has a container terminal capable of unloading the Ever Given's cargo, or part of it, so that a couple of flooded compartments matter less and allowing it to proceed to a port with the required repair facilities.

In both cases I'm certain the Ever Given will be under tow.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:13 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Theora55: ships with livestock being stuck

Actually, they're still stuck, just not in the canal itself, and it seems they hadn't even entered yet as the ones I was able to locate on vesselfinder are all outside Port Said, on the north end. But according to The Guardian they're being monitored: "Apart from goods, some 130,000 head of livestock on 11 ships sent from Romania have also been held up.
Egypt has sent fodder and three teams of vets to examine livestock stuck at sea, some bound for Jordan."
posted by Stoneshop at 2:32 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


If the ship is now pivoting, but the bow is still stuck ... how does that work? \_____ ?
posted by anshuman at 4:33 AM on March 29


This illustration, although not to scale, makes it clearer. It looks like they could now haul it out from the stern.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:06 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


> This illustration, although not to scale, makes it clearer. It looks like they could now haul it out from the stern.

(For those like me who just see the top of a very long Twitter thread, the relevant post becomes visible if you click the link, go back to this page, and then click the link again. This isn't TWinbrook8's fault, it's Twitter's.)
posted by ardgedee at 5:27 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


> If the ship is now pivoting, but the bow is still stuck ... how does that work? \_____ ?

Dunno, but I'm guessing the important thing is that swinging the stern around frees up the deeper side of the canal and maybe can let some traffic through? I don't actually know how this works...
posted by ardgedee at 5:29 AM on March 29


If the ship is now pivoting, but the bow is still stuck ... how does that work? \_____ ?

It may be to do with the fact that the bow is reportedly pinned on top of a rock that it rode over on the way up, which would also explain why the ship is holed forward.

If that's true, then now they've sucked all the sand out from under the bow, it may be sitting even harder on that rock. Pivoting and pulling at the ship might do further damage. Tricky situation.

I doubt they'll let traffic past with the ship in place - it's way too close for comfort still - but at least they should now be able to get the tugs from one side to the other without them going around Africa!
posted by automatronic at 5:47 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


let some traffic through?

At least get they can now get tugs and other support vessels to move past the stern if need be. Regular traffic will likely be blocked until they're done freeing the ship, or when it's clear that that's going to take a good while longer, until they've determined the size of the passage, that they can safely continue working on freeing the Ever Given and that it's secured against moving due to currents from passing ships.
posted by Stoneshop at 5:48 AM on March 29


Under an hour ago, Daily News Egypt tweeted: "#BREAKING: Ever Given vessel has swung back into #Suez Canal's banks because of high winds after it had been partially re-floated: Reuters"
posted by Pronoiac at 6:26 AM on March 29


However, the relevant Reuters article, last updated 30 minutes ago, says "The source said the ship’s bow was afloat in the water despite its change of position, and that the vessel had not become regrounded."
posted by Pronoiac at 6:32 AM on March 29


I, for one, am riveted.
posted by double bubble at 6:34 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]




Awwwwwwwwwww. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 6:57 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


istheshipstillstuck.com confirms that it is free!
posted by TedW at 6:58 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Joyful tooting!
posted by dominik at 7:06 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


So it’s free, but what about me?

Perhaps this is a moment for all of us to check if we are wedged in our own metaphorical canals.
posted by nubs at 7:09 AM on March 29 [12 favorites]


Now that Ever Given is free, you can try your own hand at piloting the Suez Canal
posted by chavenet at 7:13 AM on March 29 [11 favorites]


MetaFilter: Joyful tooting.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:15 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Well, kids, it was a good ride while it lasted. Let's go home.
posted by SansPoint at 7:15 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Now that Ever Given is free, you can try your own hand at piloting the Suez Canal

Desert Bus Boat.
posted by acb at 7:24 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Perhaps this is a moment for all of us to check if we are wedged in our own metaphorical canals.

For all of us that need a tug:

Dildo's en vibrators zitten vast voor Suezkanaal: erotiekgroothandel EDC lijdt miljoenenverlies

posted by sebastienbailard at 7:29 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


nubs: So it’s free, but what about me?

Did you order a melamine butter dish, too?
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:52 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Forever forgiven.
posted by anshuman at 7:54 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Those dredges really suck.
posted by flabdablet at 7:55 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


There is a lot of agriculture along the Suez, made possible by fresh water aqueducts from the Nile delta region.

Ah, the Romans again. Could well be that Marc Antony promised to have them built in return for a bit of snogging with Cleopatra.

Wet blanket pedant alert. Egyptians had fresh water aqueducts long before MA or Cleo or the Ptolemies.

Is there a back up for the Panama canal?

As alluded to above, people have been thinking about it. The so-called Nicaragua Canal came a cropper a few years ago.

Modern plans are not so much a back up as an improved alternative. Problem with Panama is that the Panama canal is limited to ships of a much smaller capacity than is the Suez. See above link for details
posted by BWA at 8:13 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Is the feeling of being an empty nester?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:20 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Well, with global warming, the Northwest Passage comes into play...
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:39 AM on March 29


Position update: the ship is 1.6 nm north of her stuck position...and still moving!

That's awfully precise! (Oh, "nautical miles".)
posted by zeptoweasel at 8:41 AM on March 29 [15 favorites]


The Ever Given may be free, but she will always be stuck in our hearts.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 8:41 AM on March 29 [12 favorites]


So the ship is escaping Egypt on the second night of Passover? Pretty good writers, pretty good.
posted by gwint at 8:47 AM on March 29 [21 favorites]




They don't sound too concerned about her having taken on water, then.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:02 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Let’s get something stuck somewhere else.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:05 AM on March 29 [9 favorites]


AIS shows that the ship has now reached the Great Bitter Lake in the middle of the canal, so they should be able to start traffic moving past her now.

Thank you to everyone who joined in the rubbernecking on this thread. It's been a fun few days.
posted by automatronic at 9:14 AM on March 29 [8 favorites]




I fully understand that this was a big deal for a lot of people and not in a good way, but many of us also needed a diversion from the slow moving heartache of the last year and I will be forever grateful to the Ever Given for knocking me out of my funk.
posted by double bubble at 9:20 AM on March 29 [7 favorites]


Some bicycles are stuck.
posted by aniola at 9:23 AM on March 29


Soundtrack for this end of the thread

I was expecting this but yours is good too.

Let's not forget the real heroes of the story: MetaFilter commenters, whose tireless efforts got us to the 400 comment mark so the ship could move again. Good work everyone!
posted by Tehhund at 9:55 AM on March 29 [16 favorites]


you can try your own hand at piloting the Suez Canal.

That’s really well done. And it’s really really hard not to overcorrect!

(Years ago a friend wrote a very elegant physics-based wireframe-graphics flight simulator in, like 1000 lines of C. I tried to write an autopilot for it before knowing about “PID controllers” and inevitably it would overcorrect, swinging wildly up and down before passing through the ground plane, so to speak. Anyway, the feeling was very familiar.)
posted by sjswitzer at 10:15 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Interestingly PID controllers were initially developed for ship autopilots by observing experienced helmsmen.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:29 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


double bubble, I feel exactly the same way. Like, I know this has serious repurcussions for a lot of people, but this has been the first time I've been obsessively glued to the interwebs for something that wasn't abject horror in an awfully long time.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:26 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


so they should be able to start traffic moving past her now.

Vesselfinder shows the Bitter Lakes now emptying, with the livestock-carrying Omega Star, Unimar and Sea Star as 6th, 7th and 8th.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:01 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


More than 40 vessels that were anchored at the Great Bitter Lake waiting for the Ever Given to be freed have resumed their southbound journey through the waterway, according to canal services firm Leth Agencies. Over 30 southbound vessels anchored off the Mediterranean city of Port Said are expected to enter the canal, it added. [...] At least 367 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, are backed up as they wait to traverse the canal. Dozens of others have taken the long, alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip — a 5,000-kilometer (3,100-mile) detour that costs ships hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other costs. (AP)

Egypt's lost nearly $100 million in toll revenues since the 3/23 enstuckening, and it may be another week and a half until traffic's back on schedule.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:36 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


> i wanted to make a joke about the boat but it looks like that ship has sailed
posted by Pronoiac at 2:44 PM on March 29 [19 favorites]


I'm sure you can wedge one in somehow. My faith in you remains unsinkable.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:56 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


*gives a stern look*
posted by iamkimiam at 3:16 PM on March 29 [13 favorites]


*bows*
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:17 PM on March 29 [11 favorites]




Now this thread is rudderless.
posted by Tehhund at 3:31 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


*winches*
posted by iamkimiam at 3:37 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Capstan, oh my capstan...
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 4:30 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


> Z I require a tug.

W I require a hug.

Too late?
posted by bendy at 4:56 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


So ... does everything just go back to normal now? At least one report I read stated that something like 30,000 cubic metres of canal-stuff were dredged out from round the ship to get it re-floated. Seems the Ever Given is being inspected for seaworthiness after being relocated to somewhere it's no longer blocking traffic, but with so much of the canal wall/floor having been displaced doesn't this increase the risk of something like this happening again? I'm sure Egypt is eager to start reclaiming all those transit fees but wouldn't they be massively increasing their liability by letting ships through before someone has rubber-stamped the safety of the infrastructure?
posted by myotahapea at 11:36 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I don’t know anything about a long term plan to inspect the area where the Ever Given impacted the canal banks. But I do know that Vesselfinder.com shows a healthy amount of traffic transiting the canal at the moment. It’s sort of mesmerizing to watch.
posted by nat at 12:54 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


It’s sort of mesmerizing to watch.

Scrolling out is kind of disturbing. Claustrophobia-inducing. The planet looks infested with ships.
posted by thelonius at 2:47 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]



Link.

Available now-- I don't know whether there will be a paywall.

In any case, a lot of explanation of how container ships have gotten a *lot* wider, and how that interacts with water that doesn't have room to get out of the way. Shallow water hydrodynamics aren't like deep sea hydrodynamics.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:01 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]




CNN have made an interactive game where you steer the ship through the canal.

It's a bit simplistic, and in particular it doesn't simulate the stern wind effects that seem to have factored into this accident, but it does give some feel of what it's like to handle a ship in a confined space.
posted by automatronic at 7:49 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


We need a mashup of the CNN game with the evergiven-everywhere site, so you can take the Ever Given out for a spin around your neighborhood, maybe pick up some groceries.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:06 AM on March 30 [10 favorites]


Just as a sense of scale thing, if you live in Toronto, the Ever Given is about the size of Eaton Centre. The whole mall, the whole thing, from Dundas to Queen.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:48 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


For anyone having trouble letting go of the excitement of this event, an 80m ship is now stuck across the River Arun in Littlehampton, on the south coast of England.
posted by automatronic at 12:53 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]




How am I only after the fact learning of Top Gear/Ever Given memes!? How did I not predict them from the get-go!?!?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:59 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]




The Suez Canal is so important on the global stage, the US once considered using FIVE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY NUCLEAR BOMBS to excavate an alternative to Suez over on the Israeli border.

That’s how much they wanted not to have to rely on Suez.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:01 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


In the context of the time that isn't really all that remarkable. It sounds like "holy shit, they were willing to use that many bombs?!" to us, but when you have the enormous industrial capacity required for series production of nuclear weapons at the scale the US and USSR had back then the incremental cost of the relatively small bombs they envisioned for that sort of use is pretty small in comparison.

There's a reason they were looking at using bombs to do everything from widening the Panama Canal to digging harbors in Alaska to fracking gas fields to using residual heat from underground explosions to generate steam for electrical generation once the availability of fissile material ceased being a concern.

It does seem only slightly less insane than leaded gas in retrospect, though.
posted by wierdo at 11:00 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


i miss big boat stuck
posted by cortex at 11:58 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


Josh please come back to the podcast!
posted by jessamyn at 11:59 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


but big boat
posted by cortex at 12:03 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


Remain here, with boat
posted by Going To Maine at 12:07 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


still not over!
posted by jessamyn at 12:19 PM on April 2


(stops truck, turns on hazard lights, films mama jessamyn gently picking up little cortex by scruff of neck with teeth)
posted by flabdablet at 1:07 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


  • China’s insane plan to build a canal across Nicaragua (including the largest source of fresh water for 47 million people in Central America.)
  • China’s insane plan tyo build a canal across the Balkans

  • posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:37 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


    It’s not her fault.
    posted by alygator at 10:59 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


    Wonder when the VDR data will be available.

    "The information recorded in the unit(s) (sometimes also called the ship's black box) may include the following information: [...] Audio from the bridge, including bridge wings"
    posted by ctmf at 6:32 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


    Latest update the ship is sitting in the lake in the canal. Egypt is demanding a billion dollars before they will it leave.
    posted by interogative mood at 7:05 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


    there's more than one way to stuck a boat
    posted by flabdablet at 11:55 PM on April 5


    Some time last week I came across a picture showing a slot-car racetrack, which, scaled up somewhat, would be a perfect solution to ships keeping course in the canal:
    - a narrow trench should be cut out in the bottom of the width-restricted sections.
    - ships over a certain size will get handed a guiding slider to be attached to their bow on entering the canal; frequent users could have this slider permanently installed if they like.
    - on entering such a width-restricted section the slider gets lowered into the slot, guiding the bow, which keeps the ship neatly centered over the trench.
    posted by Stoneshop at 12:26 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


    a slot-car racetrack, which, scaled up somewhat, would be a perfect solution

    * There would be cross-overs at certain points in the canal, adding an air of excitement to a pretty mundane transit
    * Corners would be extra wide to allow the stern of the ship to "drift" when going around full throttle
    * The website suez.canal.game would allow premium members a chance to virtually squeeze the controller for each ship, with racing leagues and bracket elimination
    posted by maxwelton at 8:34 AM on April 6 [10 favorites]


    * Every now and then somebody would recklessly leave the controller mashed all the way in, and a giant container ship would leap right out of the canal on a bend and skitter upside down all the way across Egypt before pitching up in an inaccessible corner under the piano
    posted by flabdablet at 8:41 AM on April 6 [8 favorites]


    Twitch Plays Suez Canal
    posted by cortex at 9:11 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


    What if QWOP, but big boat
    posted by jquinby at 9:37 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


    I can absolutely imagine Bennett Foddy putting out a maritime commerce hellgame.
    posted by cortex at 2:02 PM on April 6


    The slot car thing is overly complicated. The real problem is the canal is too big. They never have this problem on the Corinth Canal.

    The solution is obvious: bumpers ala bumper bowling.
    posted by Mitheral at 5:09 PM on April 6




    you say arrested, I say stuck
    posted by flabdablet at 2:28 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


    a slot-car racetrack, which, scaled up somewhat, would be a perfect solution

    *Loop-de-loop
    posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:38 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


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