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March 26, 2021, 5:08 p.m. EDT

U.S. Navy plans to send team to help with blocked Suez Canal: report

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By Victor Reklaitis

The White House on Friday said the U.S. has offered assistance to Egypt on reopening the Suez Canal, as CNN reported that U.S. Navy dredging experts could visit the trade waterway as soon as Saturday to help out.

“We’ve offered U.S. assistance to Egyptian authorities to help reopen the canal,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki during a briefing . “We are consulting with our Egyptian partners about how we can best support their efforts. So those conversations are ongoing and hopefully we’ll have more to say about that soon.”

The U.S. Navy plans to send an assessment team of dredging experts to the Suez Canal as soon as Saturday, said a CNN report on Friday that cited two unnamed Pentagon officials.

Crude-oil futures have gained this week as a cargo ship blocks the canal, and uncertainty about how long it will take to remove the tanker have complicated the near-term outlook for energy assets /zigman2/quotes/231691271/delayed UK:BRK1 0.00% .

Read: Why the blockage of the Suez Canal matters for oil prices

And see: Concerns over the Suez Canal accident tilt toward natural gas

“We do see some potential impacts on energy markets /zigman2/quotes/203483736/composite USO +0.20% from the role of the Suez Canal as a key bidirectional transit route for oil,” Psaki told reporters. “Obviously, that’s one of the reasons we’ve offered assistance from the United States, and we are in close consultation with the Egyptians about that.”

“We’re going to continue to monitor market conditions, and we’ll respond appropriately if necessary,” she added.

President Joe Biden also discussed helping Egypt later Friday.

“We have equipment and capacity that most countries don’t have, and we’re seeing what help we can be,” Biden told reporters.

Related: Check out Twitter users’ amusing suggestions for clearing the Suez Canal

Also: Suez backlog grows; global disruptions expected

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