For many days tug boats are working to free a large container ship stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal, halting marine traffic through one of the busiest and most important waterways in the world. The Ever Given, a 220,000-ton, Taiwan-owned “megaship” became lodged in the sand of the eastern bank of the Egyptian canal on Tuesday morning1; is one of a new category of ships called ultra-large container ships (ULCS).

It is estimated that there are about 110 vessels, including five tankers laden with liquefied natural gas and seven carrying about 6.3m barrels of crude oil.

The Suez canal is one of the most important waterways in the world and links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and shipping lanes to Asia. It is 120 miles (190km) long, 24 meters (79ft) deep and 205 meters wide and can handle dozens of giant container ships a day. It was expanded in 2015 to enable ships to transit in both directions simultaneously, but only in part of the waterway. All this could lead to an excessive load of pollutants in the Suez Canal/Gulf? The following images depict the ships in the Suez Canal on March 24 at 15:56 UTC:

“Cova Contro” continue to provide indispensable data to those, like us, that wish to protect the environment and its wildlife. “Cova Contro” is focused on environmental issues mostly in Italy, including investigating quite prominently the impacts of hydrocarbons extraction. Using satellite based imagery (courtesy of Sentinel-1 ESA), allows us to effectively map oil pollution on a grand scale.