The giant container ship Ever Given, which has blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week, was fully floated on Monday, a statement by the canal authority confirmed.
A Reuters witness saw the ship moving and a shipping tracker and Egyptian TV showed it positioned in the centre of the canal.
The 400m-long cargo ship has been holding up around $9.6 billion worth of goods each day, and forcing many ships to reroute around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, after a sandstorm left it wedged sideways across the canal.
Rescue workers from the Suez Canal Authority and a Dutch company used tug boats to move the ship as 367 vessels have been waiting for traffic to resume along the canal.
Egypt’s 193-kilometre-long man-made waterway is one of the world’s busiest trade routes that connect the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, linking trade between Asia and East Africa on the one hand, and Europe, the Americas and West Africa on the other.
As for alternative routes to the Suez Canal, there are only two alternative sea routes, namely the Cape of Good Hope route and the Arctic route.
A third route crosses the Pacific Ocean but is much longer and only practical for trade between the Western Americas and East Asia. Therefore, it does not compete with the Suez Canal.