An enormous cargo ship has blocked the Suez Canal, causing a massive pile-up as rescuers frantically try to clear the stricken vessel.
The Ever Given, a three-year-old 220,000 tonne, 400m long vessel, first became wedged in the largest shipping lane on the planet on Tuesday.
A flotilla of tug boats were scrambled from Egypt in a desperate bid to shift the blockage with other vessels beginning to pile up behind it.
Pictures shared via social media from another ship caught in the traffic jam, the Maersk Denver, show the staggering size of the behemoth currently stuck across the water.
Smaller vessels can also be seen around the stricken ship as rescue efforts got under way.
Tracking data from Vessel Finder showed a backlog of boats stuck on either side of the canal as the Ever Given lies motionless in the water.
Julianne Cona, who posted a picture from the Maersk Denver on Instagram, watched the chaos unfold.
She said: “Hopefully it won’t be too long but from the looks of it that ship is super stuck.
“They had a bunch of tugs trying to pull and push it earlier but it was going nowhere … there is a little excavator trying to dig out the bow.”
The vessel, registered in Panama, had left China and was destined for Rotterdam, Netherlands before it ran aground.
A source told local news publication Cairo24 that it could take up to two days before the ship is moved.
Quoting an unnamed canal worker it said that a ‘sudden technical failure’ on the boat had caused the breakdown.
The Suez canal was the first to directly link the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and was opened in November 1869.
It serves as a vital trade link and sees about 13 per cent of the world’s trade pass through its waters.