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Ever Given: Ship that blocked Suez Canal finally makes port in Rotterdam

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
In this photo released by Suez Canal Authority, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is pulled by one of the Suez Canal tugboats, in the Suez Canal, Egypt
In this photo released by Suez Canal Authority, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is pulled by one of the Suez Canal tugboats, in the Suez Canal, Egypt   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
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The huge container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March has finally reached its intended port in Europe.

The Ever Given sailed into the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Thursday to begin unloading its cargo, months later than originally planned.

The Panama-flagged vessel was heading for the Dutch port before it became wedged in the single-lane canal near Egypt in March.

Traffic in the busy shipping lane was halted for nearly a week after the 400-metre ship ploughed into the sandy bank of the canal about 6 kilometres north of the southern entrance.

A massive salvage effort freed the skyscraper-sized vessel six days later, allowing a traffic jam of hundreds of waiting ships to pass through the canal.

Earlier this month, the Ever Given left the canal’s Great Bitter Lake, where it had been held for over three months amid a financial dispute.

It was freed to continue its voyage after the ship’s Japanese owner reached a compensation settlement with Egyptian authorities following weeks of negotiations and a court standoff.

In April, the shipping data company Lloyd's List estimated that the blockage of the Suez Canal prevented the passage of an estimated €8 billion worth of cargo between Asia and Europe each day.

The Ever Given eventually sailed into the Amazonehaven container terminal early on Thursday morning with around 18,300 containers on board.

"It was a great relief to see it and a special moment," said Hans Nagtegaal, director of containers at the port of Rotterdam.

"Finally we can do the unloading work and hopefully get her back to a normal sailing routine," he told AFP.

The ship is expected to remain in Rotterdam until August 5, before heading for the English port of Felixstowe.