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Blocked Suez Canal - things that had never crossed my mind

(124 Posts)
suziewoozie Thu 25-Mar-21 12:47:14

Obviously given my age I understand the importance of the Suez Canal but I have to admit that I’ve not asked myself fir years what would happen if it were blocked by a grounded ship. Well it appears that one answer at the moment is that oil prices have gone up by 6% . Another reminder of the interconnectedness of our world.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 25-Mar-21 13:08:44

For once the continuous M25 traffic jam has been out jammed by a container ship jam 😜

Galaxy Thu 25-Mar-21 13:14:11

I listened to it yesterday and found it fascinating to be honest, that such a major blockage had never happened previously and the implications of it, which to he honest I had never given a moment's thought to.

Peasblossom Thu 25-Mar-21 13:34:20

Oh, I watched something a couple of days ago about how the opening of the Suez Canal meant the death of the sailing ships like the Cutty Sark. And the effect on what had been commercial vibrant cities like CapeTown, a vital stopover on the route east.

It was really interesting.

suziewoozie Thu 25-Mar-21 13:34:33

Latest reports are very depressing on how long it will take to clear. But more serious than the lorry getting stuck under a low bridge which happens round here every now and again .

J52 Thu 25-Mar-21 13:42:02

In her 60s my Grandmother took to visiting relatives in Australia by ship. This involved travelling through the Suez Canal, until it 1967 it was shut by Egypt after The Six Day War.
She then had to travel by aeroplane for the first time. That was her smitten with air travel.

PamelaJ1 Thu 25-Mar-21 18:34:08

Hope all of you who use oil for heating have got enough. Thank goodness we filled up last week and thank goodness it’s getting warmer.

MerylStreep Thu 25-Mar-21 18:43:20

Now you know why your Amazon delivery is late 😉

EllanVannin Thu 25-Mar-21 18:44:57

It depends what's in the containers in the line of ships behind it. 8 of those ships are carrying livestock out of the 185 tankers, bulk carriers and cargo ships.

TerriBull Thu 25-Mar-21 19:47:32

Apparently it's likely to cause toilet roll shortages AGAIN!!! That's how bad a crisis it is shock Expect pictures any day now of mahoosive trolleys being wheeled out of Costco piled as high as the container ship in question with the equivalent of the Amazon rainforest just in case there isn't anything around to wipe one's arse with until the Suez blockage is resolved shock

Urmstongran Thu 25-Mar-21 19:51:53

I read covid vaccines were in one of the containers.

Callistemon Thu 25-Mar-21 19:59:24

I've read some books recently about travel to India, Australia and New Zealand before the opening of the Suez Canal. Passengers would disembark in Alexandria and then travel by canal and horse-drawn carriages through Egypt to Suez where they would stay at a P&O hotel and then embark on another ship to India and Australasia. A railway was opened in the 1850s? which made the journey easier.

This surely can't have been caused by wind - whatever the cause, it is going to take some time to clear and will disrupt world trade for some time.

I do remember being aware of the Suez Crisis of 1956.

M0nica Thu 25-Mar-21 20:08:44

Callistemon, oh , yes , something like this can be caused by wind. DH is a marine surveyor, worked mainly in the offshore oil industry, but many a marimers tale can he tell of events like this and their causes. There was a tanker that went down in the channel, leaking oil everywhere and he had to go down in a min-submarine to inspect the damage, and the weather suddenly deteriorated and they were trapped there for 24 hours, with the minimum of facilities. I was only told during the event, because there was a fear that the papers had got the story.

Urmstongran Thu 25-Mar-21 21:49:01

Actually - No cheap Chinese crap for the next few weeks. Toys, electrical goods. Might help us wean ourselves off them!

grandMattie Thu 25-Mar-21 21:55:44

Bragging- my great grandfather entertained Ferdinand de Lesseps, the designer of the Canal, and gave him the seeds of the casuarina trees lining it!

Urmstongran Thu 25-Mar-21 22:00:20

Impressive grandMattie 😊

Mamardoit Thu 25-Mar-21 22:03:10

Does anyone else think that this could be quite serious for the UK? If ships have to go the long way around what will we be sort of?

Callistemon Thu 25-Mar-21 22:03:11

Callistemon, oh , yes , something like this can be caused by wind.
I should have asked my marine engineer DH before posting M0nica - I've just had a very long involved explanation of how this could happen under various conditions, when it got to bow thrusters etc my eyes became to glaze over ....

Callistemon Thu 25-Mar-21 22:04:42


Actually - No cheap Chinese crap for the next few weeks. Toys, electrical goods. Might help us wean ourselves off them!

No NZ lamb - £1.8m worth of chilled meat is on one of the ships.

Urmstongran Thu 25-Mar-21 22:42:31

Popeye could move it.

Teacheranne Thu 25-Mar-21 23:09:28

I read about the possibility of toilet roll shortages due to the raw materials being held up and my heart sank over the thought of panic buying here again. After almost running out last year, I vowed never to let my stock run low and was buying a pack of nine as soon as I opened my existing pack of nine.

But typically, I’ve let that slip and forgot to reorder this week so could be in a similar position of running out! But I refuse to rush out and buy any, I struggle to walk round shops now so will have to wait for my next click and collect order. But I will save this weeks free newspaper just in case!

Ro60 Thu 25-Mar-21 23:43:01

Very interesting Suziewoozie - I'm still pondering; did the ship go aground because of less traffic? Bigger container ships? Pilot error?

Just imagining the chaos of cruise ships were operating at present!

Ro60 Fri 26-Mar-21 00:41:14

'If' rather'.

MaizieD Fri 26-Mar-21 07:56:42

One news report I read said that the Egyptians were opening up an older cut of the Canal to let some shipping through. But I'd imagine that would be smaller vessels, not enormous container ships.

M0nica Fri 26-Mar-21 08:08:35

Callistemon ah yes, bow thrusters!

Ro60 the cause was a strong gust of wind and the very high flat sides of such ships. Think of the problems high-sided vehicles have on motorways in windy conditions. and magmify that many, many times.

The Suez Canal Authority achieved its second highest annual tonnage figures in 2020, falling only behind the records of 2019, while also recording the third highest annual revenue in the history of the canal

A recent major project has doubled the capacity of the canal, but the size of container vessels is growing faster than canals and some ports. It is like the problems we had in 1960s when oil tankers were doubling their size every few years, ending with some spectacular groundings.