The container vessel that blocked the Suez Canal earlier this year finally arrived in the UK on Tuesday afternoon – just four months later than originally planned.
Ever Given’s rather overdue arrival was still watched by dozens of excited Brits when it pulled into the Port of Felixstowe, with some onlookers travelling for hours to witness the ship’s docking.
One ship–spotter told the BBC: “I think we’re all interested to see how big it is – it’ll be really good.”
Ever Given’s infamy
The giant container ship became a viral sensation back in March when it blocked the Suez Canal and caused hundreds other boats to pile up behind it.
The Ever Given inevitably received merciless meme treatment as the 400-metre-long and 59-metre-wide vessel became lodged on the bed of the narrow waterway.
One account on Twitter joked: “You may have had a bad day today but have you blocked the Suez Canal today level of bad day?”
Football commentator Gary Lineker even used it as a metaphor for Tottenham Hotspur FC’s defence, tweeting: “Breaking: Mourinho signs Evergreen.”
Social media users also took aim at the tiny digger dwarfed by the huge vessel which was trying to dig the boat out of the hole it was in.
Although the internet was greatly entertained, it turns out the local Egyptian authorities were significantly less pleased with the six-day delay.
It did hold up around £42 billion of world trade, after all.
But where’s the giant ship been hiding?
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) ended up holding the 200,000–ton ship and its crew in a lake between two parts of the waterway after it was dislodged at the end of March.
The SCA was demanding compensation from the Japanese owned mega ship as its six-day blockage caused a knock-on effect for global trade.
The situation worsened when neither side could agree who was responsible for the grounding of Ever Given – some blamed the weather and human error, others pointed to the canal authorities, triggering a row which raged on for months.
But a legal agreement with the ship’s owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, was finally reached in July – although the SCA chairman Osama Rabie revealed very few details about what was involved in their NDA after their extensive standoff.
He just acknowledged the canal was to receive a tug boat with a pulling capacity of approximately 75 tonnes.
The SCA reportedly asked for $916 million (£659 million) in compensation at the start of the negotiations – it later lowered this request to $550 million (£395.7 million).
Speaking last month, Rabie added: “We preserved the rights of the authority in full, preserved our relationship with the company and also political relations with Japan.”
Ever Given usually carries goods between Asia and Europe when it’s not causing a flurry on the internet, and stopped off in Rotterdam earlier this week before heading to Suffolk.