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Satellite images show extent of Suez Canal ship traffic jam

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This view from space captures the true scope of the maritime traffic jam caused by the massive ship blocking the Suez Canal – amid new fears that the logjam might lead to piracy.

Satellite images show dozens of vessels stuck in the Gulf of Suez – in the northern end of the Red Sea – while the 1,300-foot-long Ever Given is wedged diagonally in the canal, blocking their meandering path.

Tiny Dover satellites operated by the San Francisco-based company Planet and the Airbus-built Pleiades satellite captured the soaring images of the flotilla waiting to enter the blocked canal, Space.com reported.

The mix of stranded vessels includes at least 41 bulk carriers, 33 container ships, dozens of tankers and at least one Russian warship, The Drive reported, citing Lloyd’s List.

The fully laden Ever Given — displacing 220,000 tons — was struck by unexpectedly high winds Tuesday that pushed it into the banks of the 673-foot-wide canal.

Meanwhile, multiple shipping companies from around the world have contacted the US Navy because of the possibility that pirates might target their rerouted vessels, the Financial Times reported.

Salvage experts said it could take weeks to resolve the mess, which has forced the industry to consider anchoring billions of dollars of cargo at sea or take long — and potentially risky — routes around Africa.

A spokesperson for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet told the Financial Times that it has received several inquiries in the past two days from shipping companies over maritime security in the region, which has a history of piracy.

The Ever Given has been impeding all traffic across Egypt’s Suez Canal.
The Ever Given has been impeding all traffic across Egypt’s Suez Canal.
Suez CANAL/AFP via Getty Images

 Zhao Qing-feng, an official with the China Shipowners’ Association, said that rerouting ships carries security considerations.

“Africa has the risk of piracy, especially in east Africa,” he told the news outlet, adding that companies may need to hire extra security guards.

The 50 or so ships that usually pass through the Suez Canal every day have been blocked after the Ever Given ran aground.
The 50 or so ships that usually pass through the Suez Canal every day have been blocked after the Ever Given ran aground.
Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS

Willy Lin, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, said naval warships from various countries might be needed to protect ships in the area.

While pirates have long targeted ships along East Africa, there has been a recent surge in kidnappings at sea and other maritime crimes in West Africa.

A satellite image shows stranded container ship Ever Given after it ran aground in Suez Canal, Egypt.
A satellite image shows stranded container ship Ever Given after it ran aground in Suez Canal, Egypt.
CNES/AIRBUS DS via REUTERS

The US Navy told the Financial Times that naval operations have not yet been affected in the region, but companies were concerned that if the blockage continued, their ships could face risks.

James Wroe, head of liner operations at the Danish Maersk Asia Pacific, wrote on social media that the decision of whether to reroute the ships was a “roll of the dice,’ according to the outlet.

The owner of the Ever Given has apologized for the mega-blockage, which is causing a global trade crisis.
The owner of the Ever Given has apologized for the mega-blockage, which is causing a global trade crisis.
BlackSky/Handout via REUTERS

On Friday, tugboats and a specialized suction dredger worked to dislodge the Ever Given as the almost 240 other ships remained stuck indefinitely.

Using data from Automatic Identification System trackers on ships at sea, data firm Refinitiv shared an analysis with The Associated Press showing that over 300 ships remained en route to the waterway over the next two weeks.

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NYPD releases video of gunman firing into group in the Bronx

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New video tweeted by the NYPD Sunday shows a gunman wildly firing down a Bronx street into a group of people in Fordham Manor, leaving two men wounded, cops said.

“WANTED for ASSAULT: Do you know this guy?” the NYPD wrote on Twitter.

“On 6/25/21 at approx 11:10 PM, in front of 2710 Morris Ave in the Bronx, the suspect fired several rounds towards a group, striking a 26-year-old male and a 20-year-old. Any info? DM @NYPDTips, or anonymously call them at 800-577-TIPS.”

The suspect who shot at a group of people in the Bronx on June 25, 2021.
The suspect who shot at a group of people in the Bronx on June 25, 2021.
NYPD
The suspect firing the gun in the Bronx.
The suspect firing the gun in the Bronx.
NYPD
The shooting left two people injured, according to the NYPD.
The shooting left two people injured, according to the NYPD.
NYPD

The 26-year-old was shot in the buttocks and the 20-year-old was shot in the leg, police said. Both were expected to survive.

The victims said they were standing with a group of friends when the “guy just came up and started shooting,” a police spokesman said.

No words were exchanged, video shows. 

There were no immediate arrests.

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FDA finds peeling paint, debris at US plant making J&J’s COVID vaccine

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A US plant that was making Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine must fix a long list of problems including peeling paint and unsanitary conditions and practices to resume operation, according to a highly critical report by the Food and Drug Administration.

Experts said addressing the issues raised in the scathing FDA inspection report could take months.

Neither J&J nor the FDA has said when they expect vaccine production to restart at the Baltimore plant owned by Emergent Biosolutions. Only two other plants are currently equipped to supply the world with the key drug substance for J&J’s vaccine.

“It may take many months to make these changes,” said Prashant Yadav, a global health care supply chain expert at the Center for Global Development. He described some of the issues raised by the FDA as “quite significant.”

No vaccine manufactured at the Emergent plant has been distributed for use in the United States. However, J&J said it will exercise its oversight authority to ensure that all of the FDA observations are addressed promptly and comprehensively.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on a pause in the US over a potential link to a blood clotting condition.
Getty Images

The health care conglomerate has drawn scrutiny for months over its halting process to scale up production of a vaccine that is easier to handle and, by virtue of being a single shot, easier to use than other authorized vaccines.

Its use in the United States has been paused since last week as health officials study a possible link to a very rare but serious blood clot condition.

Emergent has been seeking regulatory authorization to make the J&J vaccine in the United States. It stopped production at the plant recently, saying the FDA had asked it to do so after an inspection.

J&J’s plant in Leiden, the Netherlands, is still producing doses for the world. It has another facility in India, which is currently curtailing exports of the shot as it struggles to vaccinate its own population.

Johnson & Johnson reiterated on Wednesday that it was working to establish a global supply chain in which 10 manufacturing sites would be involved in the production of its COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to the Leiden plant.

The company has a US government-brokered agreement with rival drugmaker Merck, which is preparing to make doses of J&J’s vaccine.

Failure to train personnel

The FDA in its final 12-page inspection report said it had reviewed security camera footage in addition to an in-person site visit to the Emergent plant.

It found a failure to train personnel to avoid cross-contamination of COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which had also been produced at the site. The agency also cited staff carrying unsealed bags of medical waste in the facility, bringing it in contact with containers of material used in manufacturing.

The FDA reviewed security camera footage and visited the Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore.
Getty Images

Earlier this week, the House launched an investigation into whether Emergent used its relationship with a Trump administration official to get a vaccine manufacturing contract despite a record of not delivering on contracts.

Emergent said in a statement that it is working with the FDA and J&J to quickly resolve the issues outlined in the report.

Production of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the United States, was previously stopped at the Emergent plant after ingredients from that shot contaminated a batch of J&J vaccine, ruining millions of doses.

The FDA also noted that Emergent did not produce adequate reports showing that the vaccines it was producing met quality standards.

The inspection, carried out between April 12 and April 20, also found the building not of suitable size or design to facilitate cleaning, maintenance or proper operations.

J&J said it was redoubling its efforts to get authorization for the facility as quickly as possible.

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One dead after pair of fires breaks out in Manhattan

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One person was killed and several others were injured in a pair of Manhattan fires Wednesday morning, officials said.

The first blaze erupted in Midtown around 8:15 a.m. inside a DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse at 213 W. 34th St., where an escalator became fully engulfed in flames — sending smoke billowing into the first and second floor and the interconnected 40-story hotel building, fire officials said.

It was not immediately clear which hotel it was.

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries putting out the blaze.

“The fire went out, but we have a smoke condition that we’re trying to alleviate,” FDNY Battalion Chief John Porretto said at the scene. “Units are going to remain on scene until all the smoke alleviates.”

The fire marshal will determine the causes of the fire.

A second blaze broke out 15 minutes later on the Upper East Side at 1576 2nd Ave., officials said.

A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th Street in Manhattan that left one dead
A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th St. in Manhattan left one dead.
NYFD

One man died in the fire and a second man was in serious condition at Lenox Hill Hospital, police said.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries battling the blaze and was taken to Cornell Hospital, fire officials said.

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