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Suez Canal: Ship owner aims to free ship 'tomorrow night'

Report in Japanese newspaper comes despite salvage experts warning the rescue operation could last days or even weeks
Global shipping giant Maersk and Germany's Hapag-Lloyd both said on Thursday that they were looking into going around Africa (AFP)

Shoei Kisen, the Japanese owner of the container ship blocking the Suez Canal, said it aims to free the ship "tomorrow night Japan time," the Nikkei, a Japanese financial newspaper, reported on Friday.

The 400m Ever Given, leased by Taiwan's Evergreen Marine Corp, is blocking transit through one of the world's busiest shipping channels for oil and grain and other trade linking Asia and Europe.

A spokeswoman for the owner in Japan said that the refloating work was ongoing but that the company did not yet know when the effort would succeed.

Suez Canal: What you need to know about Ever Given, the ship that blocked the passage
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"We don't have an estimate for when the work will succeed," she said.

Mohab Mamish, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's adviser on seaports, told AFP late on Thursday that "maritime navigation will resume again within 48-72 hours, maximum".

"I have experience with several rescue operations of this kind and as the former chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, I know every centimetre of the canal," said Mamish, who oversaw the recent expansion of the waterway.

However, salvage experts had warned earlier on Thursday that the shut-down could last days or even weeks, potentially forcing businesses to re-route cargo ships around the southern tip of Africa in a blow to global supply networks.

Global shipping giant Maersk and Germany's Hapag-Lloyd both said on Thursday that they were looking into going around Africa.