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the big boost from the moon

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We owe the refloating of the Ever Given to the force of the machines thought, built and piloted by Men, but the container ship and all the buildings that waited behind it also owe a debt of gratitude to our nearest heavenly neighbor.

The container ship Ever Given, weighing more than 220,000 tonnes, had been blocking the Suez Canal for nearly a week. It was finally put back afloat on Monday March 29 under the horns of the surrounding boats, allowing the resumption of traffic on this seaway which concentrates about 10% of international maritime trade.

Monday morning at dawn, the 400-meter-long ship had started to move, after releasing its stern. Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, the company commissioned to rescue the boat, therefore congratulated his teams for having made a “Obvious and unprecedented pressure (…)”.

According to the company, 30,000 cubic meters of sand were dredged and thirteen tugs had to be deployed. The clearance operations were made particularly difficult by the rocky nature of the soil (more difficult to dig), also underlined the Canal Authority.

The incredible force of the tides

The maneuvers then continued thanks to the high water levels at the start of the afternoon. And for this, the Ever Given must thank our most powerful celestial mechanic: the Moon

When there is a full moon, or when it is in its new phase, its gravitational attraction is in fact added to that of the sun, resulting in greater high and low tides. The level of the Suez Canal, like so many other bodies of water, rises and falls with these tides.

And this Sunday the moon was full. In addition, she was also relatively close to earth in its orbit. The Moon indeed reaches its perigee (closest point) this Tuesday, March 30. However, perigee can also accentuate the extreme tides caused by full and new moons, recalls the NOAA.

As a result, the level of the Suez Canal rose on Monday by about 46 centimeters compared to the usual average, underlines the New York Times. “We were enormously helped by the strong ebb tide that we had this afternoon”, Peter Berdowski told The Associated Press. “The forces of nature pushed hard, harder than our tugs could have pulled”.

The forces of nature have therefore played a key role in this crisis which has disrupted the free movement of goods across the planet. From the start, winds of over 110 km / h lashed the sands surrounding the Suez Canal, creating a storm blinding enough that Ever Given washed up on shore. Other forces, commanded by the Moon, ultimately aided his release. Proof, once again, that we are dependent on Nature.



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