Inside the Blockage of the Suez Canal

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In March 2021, the world watched as the Ever Given container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal, disrupting global shipping for more than a week. In this Practical Engineering video, Grady delves into some of the phenomena that may have played a role in the incident of the ship that launched a thousand memes.

Heavy container ships displace a lot of water, and in a narrow, shallow canal, there isn’t much space left for that water to go. To squeeze by, the water must speed up, which (per Bernoulli’s law) creates a pressure drop and suction force on the ship. For a ship too close to a canal bank, that suction will pull the ship further to the side, increasing its chances of lodging in the bank. (Video and image credit: Practical Engineering)

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