The Ever Given is an Ultra Large Container Vessel, one size up from New Panamax; the manufacturer calls it a Golden-class container ship, and there are currently only five container ships larger than it in the world (is also has 10 siblings of comparable size). It is 400 meters long, can carry 20,000 cargo containers, and is outfitted with a scrubber on its exhaust system, making it comparatively clean to run. It's a pretty cool ship, by any standard.

Also, it blocked the Suez Canal for six days, making it the top news story in the world and costing millions or billions in economic disruption.

About 7:30 AM on March 24, 2021 the ship was hit by a blinding sandstorm with strong winds up to 30 mph (50 kph) -- normally not a problem for large container ships, but it was mid-way down the Suez Canal, and this is what happens when you put a ship in the middle of the desert. The ship was pushed sideways and rammed bow first into the east side of the canal near the village of Manshiyet Rugola. The ship became wedged in at an angle, with the bow firmly lodged in the bank. This immediately caused a traffic jam, with 15 other skyscraper-sized ships lined up behind the Ever Given, unable to turn around, and about 200 ships waiting to enter the canal. This increased steadily as the days went by.

The Egyptian government makes a lot of money from the canal ($5.61 billion in 2020; $5.8 in 2019, before the pandemic hit), and they tried their damnest to get the ship unstuck. They sent in tugboats, excavated around the ship's bow, and dredged along the shores of the canal; the combination of these efforts and a good spring tide allowed them to dislodge the ship on Monday, the March 29, 2021. It was towed to Great Bitter Lake, and as of the time of this writing is being inspected for damage.

The six days of blockage resulted in a lot of economic uncertainty, as billions of dollars worth of goods were delayed indefinitely. Many ships rerouted, adding 10 days and 3800 miles onto their journey as they traveled the long way around Africa, and supply chains were disrupted world-wide. The actual economic impact is hard to calculate; during the crises we heard many statistics about how the blockage was holding up $6,700,000 in trade every minute, and a week's blockage would cost global trade from $6 billion to $10 billion. Perhaps the most accurate statement is that about 12% of the world's trade was delayed by about a week (6 days if they stuck it out waiting at the canal, longer of they went around Africa); that doesn't sound quite so bad, but we do a lot in a week, and that measure works out to $202 million of global trade lost before we take any additional fuel costs and supply-chain coordination problems into account.

But more importantly, we got over 9,000!!! memes out of this thing. Like, a lot over. These memes were (mostly) not puns on the name, references to global trade, or anything so boring; apparently, a big ship stuck is a good metaphor for pretty much anything, and perhaps especially for the frustrations many people are feeling during the pandemic. There are also memes using "Ever Given for scale", photoshoping Ever Given into amusing and/or inconvenient places, and photoshopping amusing things wedged across the Suez Canal; for a week, the concept of thing-wedged-at-an-angle was entirely intelligible as an Ever Given meme, even if neither thing was a ship or a canal. More enduringly, the photo of a (comparatively) tiny excavator trying to dig out a massive ship resulted in a new meme format taking the general form of labeling the vehicles with some form of 'working hard'/'impossible task'.

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