We’ve all heard of the giant MV Ever Given cargo ship that has been wedged diagonally across the Suez Canal in Egypt – one of the world’s most vital waterways since March 21st – that has blocked over 120 ships at the southern entrance to the trade route. But did you see this? It’s the route the Captain took before entering the canal and running aground. If you were, or ever knew a 6th-grade boy you should recognize the pictogram.
The problem now is the awful affect on international shipping. Ships are waiting off the entrance to the Canal or attempting the trip around Cape Horn thousands of miles away in South Africa. All the while providing a tempting feast for pirates that hunt in the region.
EU-Asia boxships are also rerouting around the Cape to avoid canal, while transatlantic trades from US east coast to Asia via Suez also diverting in past 24 hours. The are very significant supply chain interruptions pic.twitter.com/Io80ivgYXw— Michelle Wiese Bockmann (@Michellewb_) March 27, 2021
While this is simultaneously funny and very serious, the question looming over the disruption to Europe through the grounding of the Ever Given, a Golden-class container ship, and one of the largest container ships in the world is: Who suffers? Is this a power play?
Evergreen Marine Corp., is a major Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship. And given the global political situation we naturally wonder whether this is an example of Gray Zone warfare.
Gray zone actions are increasing from countries seeking to challenge the World Order. China is a significant player, indeed many believe that the release of the coronavirus from Wuhan was a gray zone action.
Gray Zone actions, which seek to gain advantage without provoking a conventional military response, are often difficult for free-market democracies to counter. Countries like China and Russia increasingly use non-military means to achieve their objectives. These gray zone actions include election meddling, economic coercion, and the ambiguous use of unconventional force. As you can see in the graphic above, sitting below the level of war, gray zone conflicts pose a challenge to U.S. efforts to pursue its interests.
Who knows whether this container ship is in play. But the impact on European/China trade is immense.