The man-made Suez Canal that connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea has been blocked by a massive 1,300 feet long cargo ship. This happened earlier this week and has brought the entire shipping lane to a halt. Now with the power of Earth-observing satellite constellations, you can see the stuck ship from space.
How did the Suez Canal get blocked?
The obstruction is made by the Panama flagged Ever Given which was on its way to Rotterdam, Netherlands with a trip through the Suez Canal. While passing through the canal winds caused the Ever Given to veer off course and it ended embedding the bow of the ship in the bank of the canal.
Tug boats where dispatched to help tow the ship out but this failed, forcing more tug boats to join and now dredges to come to start digging the ship out. This caused a full shutdown of traffic attempting to pass through the canal which could cause worldwide shortages of supplies.
Images of the Suez from space
Companies like Planet Lab, Airbus, and Capella Space have constellations of Earth-imaging satellites. Normally these are used for the management of crops or wildlife. In cases of disasters at this scale, the incredibly high resolution these satellites can share is amazing.
The images can clearly show the reason why the Suez Canal is shut down. With the cargo ship stretching from bow to stern across the entire canal, no ships would be able to make it through. Reports have shown that this could take weeks to clear up. Causing more issues for the worldwide economy to deal with as shortages are already rampant across several industries.
Comparison between normal days and current blockage
The European Space Agency has a collection of Earth observation satellites apart of a program called Copernicus. They shared images today that show the current backup of ships waiting in the Gulf of Suez.
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