Suez Canal
Suez Canal Flash 90

A towering cargo ship has become wedged in the Suez Canal, halting traffic in a waterway vital for global shipping.

According to the Associated Press, the Ever Given, a massive container ship flying the flag of Panama, was transporting cargo between Asia and Europe. On Tuesday, it became lodged in the narrow Egyptian canal, which runs between Africa and the Sina Peninsula.

The Suez Canal is seen as a crucial transport route, used by approximately 10 percent of world trade, and is especially important for the shipping of oil.

Images released of the ship appear to show an extraordinary site: The front of the ship’s hull is stuck against one side of the canal and the back of the hull against the other.

On Wednesday, the Egyptian government brought in tugboats to push the damaged boat to the side of the waterway so that normal shipping could resume. Ships have been lining up in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Great Bitter Lake waiting for the all-clear to enter the Suez. Workers were also seen with shovels trying to dig sand away from the bottom of the ship's hull.

The company that owns the Ever Given told AP that the 20 members of the crew were all safe.

There are several theories as to why the ship ran aground. The ship may have experienced a power failure due to strong winds in the area, with gusts that day of up to 50 kph.

However, the ship weighs 220,000 tons. Experts are unsure if the winds could have been enough to throw such a large ship off course.

Besides the potential for economic repercussions – for instance, oil and gas prices in Europe could increase – security experts warned that ships idling in nearby waters could be targeted by Iran or Iranian backed groups.