Column: My Suez Canal plan is now completely useless

Adam Tumino

It is probably a good thing that the Suez Canal has been unblocked. On Monday, the 400-meter long cargo ship Ever Given was freed after spending six days blocking the canal, one of the busiest and most vital waterways in the world.

I, however, am furious.

I spend about an hour Sunday devising a perfect plan to free the ship before learning that my plan had been rendered completely useless by a flotilla of tugboats.

It was not the first time I have been foiled by tugboats and it will not be the last.

My plan was ingenious in its simplicity and grand in scale. It would have made me a beloved figure the world over.

But alas, it was not the be.

It would have freed the ship by simply lifting it out of the canal, straightening it out and placing it back down facing the proper direction.

How could I propose to lift a ship that weighs approximately 441 million pounds?

The answer to that question is the Soviet-built Mil Mi-26 heavy lift helicopter.

This robust Russian helicopter is one of the largest ever built and can carry about 44,000 pounds of cargo, although they have been known to carry heavier loads.

So the plan to lift the Ever Given comes down to simple mathematics.

For the sake of safety, the 44,000-pound limit for the Mi-26 will be the guideline.

In this case, we would simply need 10,023 Mi-26 helicopters to lift the Ever Given at one time, refloating the prodigious ship and reopening the Suez Canal.

This is where you, being the astute and inquisitive reader that you are, are likely to ask some questions.

“Adam,” you would say, “aren’t there only 316 Mi-26 helicopters in circulation as of 2015 and aren’t they owned and operated by various governments and companies all over the globe.”

“Shut up,” I would respond, because I believe that it would have been worth the many months and many billions of dollars it would have taken to build the additional 9,707 Mi-26 helicopters needed to lift the ship.

Imagine how amazing it would have been to watch 623 million combined pounds of helicopter work in unison to lift 441 million pounds of ship.

But we will never get to have that experience because some damned tugboats had to ruin the fun.

Tugboats are now my sworn enemy and will be so until either the day I die or the day I see every tugboat on the planet sunk to the bottom of the bottom of sea.

I fear I will never see thousands of helicopters lift a cargo ship, a dream I have had since last Tuesday.

This saddens and upsets me, and it should do the same to you.


Adam Tumino is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]