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How big is the boat stuck in the Suez canal?

Seen from above, the container ship Ever Given continues to block the Suez canal.
Seen from above, the container ship Ever Given continues to block the Suez canal.
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The images are already iconic; an excavator and bulldozer claw at the muddy bank of the Suez Canal, dwarfed by the gigantic hull of a container ship so clearly and deeply stuck that the action can only be described as futile.

An excavator attempts to free stranded container ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, after it ran aground, in the Suez Canal.
Image: Suez Canal Authority/Handout via REUTERS

Beside the massive vessel, the powerful machinery looks like toys. That’s because the boat they were trying to free, and which is currently blocking the full width of the Suez Canal, is one of the world’s largest container ships.

The Ever Given, operated by Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen Marine, is a golden-class container ship. Launched in 2018, it is 400 m (1,312 ft) long, with a width of 59 m (194 ft). The Suez canal is, itself, only about 200 m wide (656 ft).

Beside the massive hull of the Ever Given, construction machinery looks like children's toys.
Image: Suez Canal Authority/Handouts via REUTERS

The boat appears high up on lists of the largest container ships in the world, along with a number of its sister “ever” ships, including the Ever Glory, Ever Greet, Ever Genius, and Ever Gentle. While vessels this size regularly traverse the Suez, at 400 m they are too long for the locks in Central America’s Panama canal.

The Ever Given is the same length, and nearly the same width, as the world’s largest container ships, the Algeciras class vessels, built last year. The difference is in the amount of cargo they can transport. The Ever Given can carry approximately 20,000 twenty-foot containers—consisting of 12 vessels, Algeciras-class ships have a maximum capacity of nearly 24,000.

Let’s put the Ever Given‘s size in perspective:

⚽️  It is as long as four soccer pitches, combined.

🇫🇷  If you stood it upright, it would be taller than the Eiffel tower by 100 m (328 ft).

🇦🇪  In fact, it would be nearly the same height as the Princess Tower in Dubai, which is 101 stories.

🚌  It is as long as 36 London double-decker buses parked end-to-end.

🏊‍♂️  The record-holding swimmer could swim its length in three minutes, forty seconds. It would take an average swimmer about eight minutes.

🚢  It is 1.5 times as long as the Titanic.