A container ship sails at the Suez Canal, in Ismailia, Egypt, March 31, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO — The last group of ships stranded due to the grounding of the massive container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal will cross the waterway on Saturday, an official said.

In a statement, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie said the remaining 61 ships, in addition to newly arrived 24 vessels, will pass through the canal on Saturday.

He stressed that the work has been ongoing to ensure that all stranded ships cross the canal.

On March 23, the 400-meter-long and 59-meter-wide Panama-flagged vessel stuck and blocked the vital waterway after it lost the ability to steer amid massive winds and a sandstorm.

The incident caused a six-day suspension of navigation in the man-made canal, keeping at least 422 ships wait.

Linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, the Suez Canal is a major lifeline for global seaborne trade since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa, thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 km.

Some 12 percent of the world trade volume passes through the Suez Canal.