News This Week: Massive Ships Blocks Suez Canal, Mahakumbh & More
Written by Aahana Garg, a grade 10 student. A colossal container ship which is the length of four football pitches, has become wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal, blocking one of the world’s busiest trade routes. This ship was knocked off course by strong winds…
Written by Aahana Garg, a grade 10 student.
Suez Canal blocked after a massive container ship ran around
A giant container ship, the length of four football fields, has got stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal, blocking one of the world’s busiest trade routes. The name of the ship is Ever Given and it’s one of the largest container ships in the world.
How did it get stuck?
There was a strong dust storm of desert winds, which forced the ship to get knocked off sideways, getting it stuck in the canal.
However, Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority chief, Osama Rabie, has now said Saturday that, “Strong winds and weather factors were not the main reasons for the ship’s grounding, there may have been technical or human errors.”
There will now be an investigation into what really happened.
What does this mean for global trade?
This is an extremely important route for ships that carry cargo across the world. About 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. With the blockage, ships cannot pass through this route and are being forced to take a much longer route. More than 300 ships are stuck on either side of the blockage. Also, the blockage has sent oil prices soaring on international markets.
What is the Suez Canal?
The Suez Canal is a man-made waterway in Egypt. It is a route for ships that allows ships to travel between Asia and Europe without going all the way around Africa. The canal is about 190 kilometers in length and links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
In 2015, the canal underwent an expansion. This made it wide enough for the ships to move in opposite directions simultaneously in some parts of the canal. The expansion apparently cost $8 billion!
The Maha Kumbh Mela, a religious pilgrimage that witnesses the world’s largest mass gathering, will be held in the northern city of Haridwar between April 1 and 30.
However, the event, which is observed once every 12 years at each of India’s four river-bank pilgrimage sites, will be significantly pared down because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Maha Kumbh this year would need specific passes, Covid-19-negative tests, and constant masking to limit the spread of Covid-19. Furthermore, the mela will be much shorter than usual. This would result in far fewer economic opportunities for small businesses that thrive during these events, including the local tourism industry.
Biden passes bill on Anti-Asian hate
President Joe Biden has asked the US Congress to act quickly on the hate crime legislation that’s being brought in to address the rise in discrimination and violence against Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Condemning the recent shootings in Atlanta where eight people, including six Asian women, were killed by a shooter, Biden said that “hate can have no safe harbour in America.”
Called, The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, it aims to increase the Justice Department’s oversight of hate crimes caused by the pandemic. The Act will also provide support for state and local law enforcement agencies, and make hate crime information more accessible to Asian American communities.