SUEZ, Egypt (AP) — Two additional tugboats sped to Egypt’s Suez Canal to aid efforts to free a skyscraper-sized container ship wedged for days across the crucial waterway, even as major shippers increasingly divert their boats out of fear the vessel may take even longer to free.
The massive Ever Given, a Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, got stuck in a single-lane stretch of the canal. In the time since, authorities have been unable to remove the vessel and traffic through the canal — valued at over $9 billion a day — has been halted, further disrupting a global shipping network already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magno, called in to help tugboats already there, reached the Red Sea near the city of Suez early Sunday, satellite data from MarineTraffic.com showed. The tugboats will nudge the 400-meter-long (quarter-mile-long) Ever Given as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side, said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given.
Excavators dug Sunday on the eastern wall of the Suez Canal, hoping to free the bulbous bow of the Ever Given that plowed into the embankment, satellite photos showed.
Workers planned to make two attempts Sunday to free the vessel coinciding with high tides helped by a full moon Sunday night, a top pilot with the canal authority said. The full moon offers a spring tide, or king tide, in which high tides are higher and the low tides are lower because of the effects of gravity during a straight-line alignment of the Earth, the moon and the sun.
MAKASSAR, Indonesia (AP) — Two attackers believed to be members of a militant network that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group blew themselves up outside a packed Roman Catholic cathedral during a Palm Sunday Mass on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, wounding at least 20 people, police said.
Rev. Wilhelmus Tulak, a priest at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, said he had just finished celebrating Palm Sunday Mass when a loud bang shocked his congregation. He said the blast went off at about 10:30 a.m. as a first batch of churchgoers was walking out of the church and another group was coming in.
He said security guards at the church were suspicious of two men on a motorcycle who wanted to enter the building and when they went to confront them, one of the men detonated his explosives.
Police later said both attackers were killed instantly and evidence collected at the scene indicated one of the two was a woman. The wounded included four guards and several churchgoers, police said.
National Police Chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo told reporters when he visited the crime scene late Sunday that the two attackers are believed to have been members of the militant group Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State group and was responsible for deadly suicide bombings on Indonesian churches in 2018.
He said one of the attackers was believed to have links to a church bombing in the Philippines.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Police in the capital of Belarus arrested more than 100 people who assembled for a protest march to call for the resignation of the country’s authoritarian president.
The planned event in Minsk indicated that supporters of the political opposition seek to revive the wave of mass protests that gripped Belarus for months last year but were dormant during the winter. During the first sizable anti-government protests of 2021, more than 200 people were detained Thursday.
Five journalists were among those arrested. Four were later released, but it was not clear if the fifth, the editor of the popular newspaper Nasha Niva, faced charges.
Some journalists arrested while covering last year’s protests were sentenced to two years in prison.
Protests broke out in August after a disputed election that gave President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term in office. Lukashenko, who has been characterized as Europe’s last dictator, has strongly repressed opposition and independent news media during his 26 years in power.
The post-election protests were the largest and most persistent show of opposition the former Soviet Republic has seen in that time, with some of them attracting as many as 200,000 people.
More than 33,000 people were arrested during the protests, and many of them were beaten by police.