All the fresh reports of a ship blocking the Suez Canal seem to underplay the most important point. This ship built in 2018 was in a similar accident in 2019:
…the cargo ship ran into a small ferry moored on the Elbe river in the German port city of Hamburg. Authorities at the time blamed strong wind for the collision…
It wasn’t a small ferry that was hit. This ship is massively massive at 400 meters long and 59 meters wide. Everything is small compared to that.
The prior crash suggests it’s a known design flaw (and by that I’m including bridge comms) that should have been fixed.
The strong winds in Germany were reported as force seven with gusts of force eight (30 knots with gusts to 40 knots).
Zum Zeitpunkt der Kollision herrschte Windstärke sieben vor Blankenese – bei Böen der Stärke acht!
Thus it’s so tall that in just 30 knot winds (same in Egypt 2021 as in Germany 2019), even traveling at 12.8 knots, this ship operates like a sail and couldn’t steer straight.
This is a metaphor for engineering mismanagement by not thinking ahead about design decisions relative to the natural environment. Bigger is not better. Also patches need to happen faster.
Some reports include the point that the ship experienced a power outage when it lost steerage. That complicates matters but she should have still had steerage (let alone ability to drop anchor).
It comes back to the ship lacked ability to point with 12.8 knots of momentum in flat water.
30 knot winds are strong for the canal, which usually sees 5-10 knots year round. For a ship this size, however, 30 knot winds wouldn’t mean a thing in open water.
Also 12.8 knots sounds unusually high for a ship in the canal, which would have rendered her bow thrusters and low-speed controls useless (with increasing speed, thrusters become less effective as rudders become more effective). Perhaps that’s another big factor?
Now for the opposite perspective. People say they didn’t see such a looming disaster coming.
Images showed the ship’s bow was touching the eastern wall, while its stern looked lodged against the western wall – an extraordinary event that experts said they had never heard of happening before in the canal’s 150-year history.
Nobody has heard of a ship going sideways so far that it touches both banks? This ship is so big it had very little time before it was touching both. Many ships have certainly run aground (e.g. 2017).
I guess you put those two facts together and the past could have easily predicted the present.
A couple more interesting points here.
Being aground as she is, all the way up on the eastern bank, and she’s listing to port, it’s very hard to be able to pull her off. They’re in a very dangerous, precarious position too, with both ends of the vessel on the beach there’s a potential for the vessel to sag in the middle. If they cannot get her off that position with the tugs, they’re going to have to start removing fuel out of her, and then containers, but the difficulty with getting the containers off her is she’s so high, so tall, that it would be very difficult to get the correct size cranes in there.
The ship being so tall also impacts the ability to off-load it to get it off the ground. Cranes afloat probably will not be tall enough.
And the ship being so long means it could end up sagging with both ends aground but the middle in deep canal water.
Pressing tugs against the middle of the ship while the bow and stern are stuck on land could be a structural nightmare.