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The forecast for Tuesday, March 23, showed wind gusts of more than 64 kph and sand storms sweeping through northern Egypt. Indeed, such weather is common in the Sinai desert at this time of year.

The Suez Canal — one of the most critical, yet precarious waterways on the planet — remained open. Ships were starting to form the daily convoy as the gusts picked up. One of the world’s biggest container vessels, the Ever Given, joined it. The decision would reverberate globally within hours.

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