Operations at the Suez Canal were expected to return to normal on Monday after the last of the ships caught up in the recent grounding transited the waterway.

That comes a week after the 20,388-teu Ever Given (built 2018) was refloated on 29 March, ending a six-day blockage.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said a total of 446 ships transited the canal in the five days from 30 March to 3 April — an average of 85 per day.

On Sunday, some 38 ships were expected to have completed a southbound convoy, while 48 were expected to have headed in the opposite direction, the SCA said.

However, Singapore-based IHS Markit lead shipping analyst Daejin Lee said there was still potential for delays.

“IHS Markit data shows that, yes, about 400 ships blocked by the Ever Given are now cleared, but around 200 ships have arrived since then and are still waiting, with 40 to 50 ships arriving daily,” he told the BBC.

Due to the Easter holiday weekend many of the major container lines had yet to provide updates about their schedules on Monday.

Underwater inspection

Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the Ever Given's owner, said in a statement that the vessel was to have undergone an underwater inspection on Friday, after which the ship’s classification society would determine the required repair method.

“We will continue to fully cooperate with the Suez Canal Authority, which is conducting the accident investigation,” the Japanese shipowner said.

“We will submit the data of the navigation information recording device to the investigators, cooperate with the inspection necessary for their accident investigation, and provide other necessary data.”

Separately, WK Webster said in an update that it had been confirmed that the owner of the Ever Given had declared general average.

“General average security will now be required from all cargo interests prior to the delivery of their cargo,” the specialist claims consultancy added.

WK Webster said it was unclear whether there would be a separate salvage claim from the salvors, and it continued to monitor developments.

“The vessel has been moved to the Great Bitter Lake for inspection, but it is not presently clear how long it will remain there before continuing its passage through the Suez Canal and onwards to ports of discharge,” the company added.

Egyptian authorities have opened an investigation into the incident and the results of that inquiry should be made public early next week, local media reported.