On Sunday, the most famous container ship in the world was finally freed after blocking the Suez Canal for six days. A combination of tug boats and high tides were responsible for unsticking the Ever Given, after it got inexplicably wedged between both walls of the waterway. And while those in charge of global shipping traffic were elated to finally be out of a nearly week-long traffic jam, the internet had a very different response. By Sunday night, the phrase 'PUT IT BACK' was trending on Twitter.
After Suez Canal Container Ship is Unstuck, the Internet Demands: 'PUT IT BACK'
Reasons for this irrational outpouring remain fairly mysterious. Perhaps there was symbolic comfort to be found in the principle that a single ship could disrupt the whole world. Perhaps, as 2021 gets rolling and we leave 2020 behind, the internet just needs one last gasp of chaos to cling to. And perhaps everyone was just enjoying the inexplicable mystery of how this doesn't happen at least once a week.
There were other motivations on display, Sunday night and Monday morning.
Some people were in it for the memes:
Some were in it for the merch:
Others thought conspiratorial forces were at play:
But for some, the stillness of the Ever Given had been soothing:
For others, the container ship's stubborn commitment to resting in place felt personally relatable:
And then there were the brave souls willing to stand up for the ship's unwieldy self, and get it a buddy.
At the time of writing, the Change.org petition to "Add Another Ship" was very close to exceeding its goal of 2,500 signatures. That might seem funny now, but when it comes to maritime matters, the internet can be a surprisingly determined place. Lest we forget that in 2016, after the UK government asked the public to come up with a fitting name for a prestigious new research ship, the internet rallied and succeeded in getting its preferred title to the top of the polls. It was "Boaty McBoatface," a name that now lives in infamy. God speed, Suez Canal.