Remember when the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal, holding up global shipping channels and resisting every attempt to free it until it was gently lifted out of its predicament by the moon?
Well, everyone's favorite giant green problem child is stuck again, albeit in a different kind of hostage situation. Yes, the Ever Given has been seized by Egypt, which is demanding $900 million in compensation — essentially the world's most expensive parking ticket.
Leading the lawsuit is Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, who has blamed the ship's captain for the incident in question. In March, the Japanese-owned behemoth spent a week lodged in the Suez Canal, blocking traffic and stopping over 300 ships from moving across the canal. The giant ship, which is 1,300 feet long and weighs 220,000 tons, reportedly may have cost around $10 billion dollars per day during its week spent in the canal.
Egypt seizes ship that blocked Suez Canal, demands $900 million in compensation https://t.co/L73Iwbddhw https://t.co/PpoSMltbHF— The Hill (@The Hill)1618445764.0
During the incident, the ship became the subject of international media attention and infinite memes. Something about the ship resonated with people. To some, the sight of tiny human equipment pushing in vain against the ship's massive, stubborn bow felt relevant in an era when so much of our infrastructure has failed us and our small efforts to preserve our sanity feel feeble against the giant issues we collectively face. Others related to the ship's dysfunction, finding something familiar about its inability or refusal to move forward.
There was something ineffable about its simple stuck-ness that people just...felt. Deeply.
best meme so far #SuezBLOCKED #suez #EVERGIVEN https://t.co/B7WojE9t6x— Ms Ever Given (@Ms Ever Given)1616736574.0
🙃 https://t.co/oQ5kVOSftc— Deeba Shadnia (@Deeba Shadnia)1616601279.0
This Ever Given thing in the #suezcanel is giving me life. https://t.co/8SGNA1earf— Eugene (@Eugene)1616694320.0
Some noted strange patterns in boat activity across the world.
Eventually, the boat was freed when, thanks to an unusually large supermoon, tides rose and helped dislodge it from the shore. Yes, that means that technically, the boat was freed by the magic powers of the moon. (Take that, manmade industry and capitalism; all our powers still pale against the ineffable magic of the Earth and the cosmos).
After several days trying to dislodge the Ever Given cargo ship from the Suez Canal, the salvage team pinned their… https://t.co/bKNFnhXeww— The Wall Street Journal (@The Wall Street Journal)1617096606.0
When the ship floated away, some people were distressed. It seemed some computer-bound observers had found comfort in the boat's stubborn refusal or inability to comply with social norms.
THE BOAT'S UNSTUCK?? PUT IT BACK RN PUT IT BACK https://t.co/XfHAU64ohH— cas ☼ « ❂ » (@cas ☼ « ❂ »)1616992622.0
Of course, the powers that be obsessively attempted to find someone to blame for the incident, which has generally been attributed to sandstorms and high winds. Immediately, blame was placed on Marwa Elselehdar, the ship's captain.
Marwa Elselehdar: 'I was blamed for blocking the Suez Canal' https://t.co/rUmo1mQInf— BBC News (World) (@BBC News (World))1617490951.0
Elselehdar was nowhere near the ship when the incident occurred, and yet thanks to an edited image of an Arab News story and several false Twitter accounts that spread fake news about her, she became an instant scapegoat. "I felt that I might be targeted maybe because I'm a successful female in this field or because I'm Egyptian, but I'm not sure," she said. Elselehdar went on to discuss the sexism she had faced in the industry.
"People in our society still don't accept the idea of girls working in the sea away from their families for a long time," she said. "But when you do what you love, it is not necessary for you to seek the approval of everyone... My message to females who want to be in the maritime field is fight for what you love and not let any negativity to affect you."
Now, though Elselehdar has largely been cleared of any blame, the ship's crew is still in danger of punishment or even arrest. "There is a clear danger that the crew will be made scapegoats," an Indian shipping industry source told the Times of India back in March. Those fears seem to be coming true.
"Maybe the captain made a mistake in a specific (operation) request, such as the rudder or speed, which could have led to that," Osama Rabie said in a recent interview. Now, he and other Egyptian authorities have seized the ship and are refusing to let it leave Egypt until his demands are met. Negotiations are ongoing. The vessel is currently idling in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake, just north of the canal it was originally stuck in.
It's unclear when or if the ship will be freed at last; but for now, the saga is ongoing — and this big ship just can't catch a break.