Ever Given not the first time ships got stuck in a “traffic jam” at Suez Canal…
Do you know “The Yellow Fleet”?
In 1967, during the six-day war, Suez Canal was blocked for 8 years forcing 14 ships to remain stranded on the water. Called Yellow Fleet, the group of ships acquired the name because of the desert sand that eventually covered the ships as they had to sit at one place in the Canal for years. The war ended in six days, but the geographical condition around the Canal was changed in a way they did not find any route to get out of the Canal. For the international trade, it turned out to be catastrophic as they had to resume the old pathway around Africa increasing the shipping cost by several folds.
Three months after staying in the Canal, the original crew members were allowed to head home, However, the companies that owned the ships were not comfortable with leaving ships alone and unmanned.
Thus the companies sent relief crews that cycled in and out to protect the ships.
The crew members of the ships divided the duties for smooth management of their “country”. The Polish crew members served at the post office. The British hosted soccer matches. One Ship served as a movie theatre. Another ship served as a hospital. On Sundays, The German Ship served as Church.
It was essential for the members to keep themselves busy, since there was not so much to do on ships. So what they do other than having parties, dance events and soccer games?
Well, they had their own version of the 1968 Olympics. The Polish crew members won the games. They even created their own handmade postage stamps!
In 1973, another war broke: when the conflict came to an end with the cease-fire agreement, the prominent nations worldwide started to build external pressure to re-open the Canal. Finally, operations to clear the Canal from heaps of debris, landmines and old vessels, started, but it took them two years to clear it. On June 5, 1975, the Canal was re-opened.