Stranded container ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is seen after it ran aground, in Suez Canal, Egypt. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Egypt has stepped up its efforts to free the 400-metre-long megaship Ever Given that has been stuck in a narrow stretch of the Suez Canal since Tuesday, causing one of the world’s worst maritime traffic jams.

Chief of the Suez Canal Authority Admiral Osama Rabie Sunday said that President Abdul Fattah al Sissi has ordered preparations for reducing the load of the Panama-flagged supertanker as a possible rescue scenario should current dredging and towing operations fail. The grounded ship is loaded with 18,000 containers, a cargo that makes its offloading a lengthy task, according to the official.

Linking the Red and Mediterranean seas, the Suez Canal handles around 12 per cent of the world trade.

Ship rescued

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities said Sunday that a container ship had been rescued off the coastal city of Damietta after it had developed a sudden technical problem.

The Egyptian Transport Ministry said the Damietta Port Authority had rescued Xpress Nile after the Egyptian 133-metre-long ship had made a distress call following the breakdown that occurred about eight nautical miles off Damietta.

Two tugboats headed to the site and tugged it to the port. The vessel is now anchoring at a port quay where its goods will be off-loaded ahead of repairing its engines, the ministry added.