Ship Stubbornly Stuck in Suez Canal Freed Thanks To Lunar Power


Tyler Burkett

Physics and astronomy teacher Samantha Baker demonstrates the moon’s effect on the tide.

Tyler Burkett

On March 23, cargo ship Ever Given floated sideways due to a massive sandstorm and was lodged for six days when it was finally freed thanks to the efforts of associated tugboats, ground crews and a full moon from the narrow 673 foot wide Suez Canal

The Ever Given was undoubtedly stuck even after multiple crews consisting of Egyptian, Italian, and Dutch tugboats pulled and pushed while ground crews worked to dig up the sand and mud blocking the rudder.

This awkward block of the canal contributed to stopping boats traveling through the path which 15% of the world’s commercial ships travel.

The crews worked throughout the weekend to no avail when finally they received help from an unlikely source, the moon.

“It’s really interesting that [the Ever Given] got stuck and unstuck at the full moon,” astronomy teacher Samantha Baker said. “But it’s absolutely correlated to the amount of water that’s being brought in at the tide.”

Baker is a science teacher who teaches physics and astronomy. The latter of the two is the science of celestial bodies and other space objects, not to be confused with astrology, which is a spirituality that describes your personality based around the place of the constellations and the planets at the time of your birth.

“The reason why the tide goes up is because the moon [at a full moon] is in alignment with the Earth and the sun,” Baker said. “So you have the gravitational forces aligned and working together. The tides are not pulled on Earth, there is a huge loop of water that we are rotating around.”

The tides, which always have high and low spurts throughout the day, have a more drastic effect and height at a full moon. This allowed the cargo ship to float about 7 feet higher in the canal, which directly helped the crews pulling, digging, and pushing to move the ship out faster than the original, six-week estimate.

“As the sun and the moon all get aligned at a full moon,” Baker said. “That bulge of water gets lengthened and pulled so that now you have more water at certain times of day. So whenever they’re rotating through there’s going to be more water to push through that canal.”

The Suez Canal has been unblocked for over a week now and traffic has been flowing smoothly since the Ever Given incident.