Cairo, March 27: The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said that it welcomes cooperation with the US to refloat a giant cargo ship that has run aground and disrupted traffic on one of the world's busiest trade routes.

In a statement issued on Friday, the SCA also expressed gratitude for all the other offers of assistance to free the ship, reiterating its keenness to restore maritime traffic in the Suez Canal as soon as possible, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Thursday, the Authority said dredging operations were underway to refloat the Panama-flagged ship, Ever Given, by removing 15,000 cubic metres to 20,000 cubic metres of sand surrounding the vessel's bow.

It added the dredging operations, including nine tug boats, two dredges and four diggers, aiming to reach a depth of 12-16 meters to resurface the 400-metre-long and 59-metre-wide vessel.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority has warned that a sea storm on Saturday and Sunday along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez could cause a delay in the dislodging work.

Ever Given ran aground in the man-made canal on Tuesday due to a sandstorm, reportedly leaving dozens of other cargo vessels blocked from passing the major waterway.

The tanker veered off its course while sailing through the waterway on a Rotterdam-bound voyage coming from China.

The Suez Canal provides one of Egypt's main sources of income, alongside tourism and remittances from expatriates.

In 2015, Egypt opened a 35 km extension running parallel to the historical canal, which was inaugurated in 1869.

The expansion allows two-way traffic along the previously one-way canal and is designed to reduce the waiting time for vessels.

The artificial waterway connects the Mediterranean and Red seas, providing the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe. -  (IANS)