Suez traffic jam visible from space

From March 23rd to March 29th 2021, the container ship Ever Given was stuck in Suez Canal, completely stopping maritime transit through the channel for almost one week.

In the morning of 23rd March, largely due to a combination of sand storm and strong winds, the container ship wedged in the Canal, preventing transit of any other ships. The stop to transit through the canal caused a traffic jam of more than 400 ships on either side.

It is estimated that around $9.6 billion in maritime traffic were blocked each day, with the actual loss being very hard to quantify.

Copernicus satellites captured various images of the Suez ship traffic jam.

The radar instruments onboard Sentinel-1 satellites are ideal to monitor ship traffic, as they provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth’s surface. Images acquired from Sentinel-1 compare the situation of accumulated ships in the Gulf of Suez between 21st March and 25th March.

Sentinel-2 satellites carry a wide swath high-resolution multispectral imager, with 13 spectral bands, and frequent revisit time. As such it provides detailed imagery of land and vegetation. Take a look here to catch a glimpse of traffic jam at Suez entrance at the end of February and at the end of March 2021.


Cover picture by Cameron Venti on Unsplash