Fu Mengzi:On the realistic choice of multiple routes—Lesson learned from blockage in Suez Canal
13 Jun, 2021  |  Source:The Belt and Road Reports  |  Hits:2018

An incident of the ship Ever Given caused one-week blockage in Suez Canal, from which all countries in the world should learn a lesson though the ship has been refloated.

First, a strong risk awareness of navigation is essential. Anything that is prepared beforehand can be successful, otherwise it will fail. Risks feature uncertainty so they require full consideration in advance. As the conditions of offshore passages are very complex, ships may encounter various unpredictable risks at any time, such as natural disasters, gales, complex sea conditions, piracy, collisions, flooding, etc. Every voyage needs to be taken seriously even on familiar routes and carelessness must be eliminated.

Second, better early warning systems are needed. In this ancient industry of maritime transport, human beings have paid huge costs and heavy sacrifices in the process of braving the wind and the waves, and have also accumulated valuable experience and learned useful lessons. Although modern shipping is still a traditional industry, today’s technologies are much more advanced than that in any previous era in terms of the early warning of sea conditions and severe weather as well as the relevant rescue.

Last, multiple routes should be planned in advance and chosen when needed. With the stagnation, paralysis and chaos in maritime transport during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, alarm bells are ringing in the construction of the maritime public health system and the security of the maritime supply chain. China-Europe Railway Express has bucked the trend through timely delivery of pandemic-related emergency materials and maintenance of the production chain, manifesting the value of the Eurasian passage in times of emergency. Obviously, a choice of multiple routes enables transport to be safer. It also proves that the construction of the Maritime Silk Road that we actively facilitate has more positive practical significance and brighter future prospects.

(Fu Mengzi, Vice President and Research Professor of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations and Distinguished Expert with The Belt and Road Reports.)