Ever Given, the 200,000 ton cargo ship stretching 1,300 feet that blocked all passage through the Suez Canal after being grounded in the waterway nearly a week ago, has finally been freed.
Helped by the rising tide, the enormous ship was freed on Monday after a team of tugboats wrenched its bow from the sandy bank where it had been lodged last Tuesday. After being dislodged, the ship made its way to the Great Bitter Lake for a technical examination to determine if it is safe for the ship to continue towards its original destination of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
While the Ever Given incident led to an unprecedented backlog of ships on the canal—close to 400 ships according to some reports, along with $3 billion to $9.5 billion worth of goods—and cost Egypt alone more than $95 million in revenue, the incident has also caused a stir within the far-right QAnon movement, as adherents claimed that the ship was being used by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to traffic children. The baseless claims stem from the fact that the Taiwanese shipping company that operates the ship is called Evergreen, which was Clinton’s Secret Service name as first lady during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
The baseless conspiracy theory spread on Gab and Telegram, the preferred social media platforms for QAnon adherents after movement influencers were largely purged from mainstream social media networks following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
“Suez Canal blocked by huge container ship named Evergreen,” read a post on a QAnon Telegram channel with more than 100,000 subscribers. “Evergreen shipping is most likely a cover for human and sex trafficking. HRC = Hillary Rodham Clinton. Evergreen = Hillary’s Secret Service name. Evergreen Call Sign: H3RC.”
As Ever Given remained stuck for several days, QAnon adherents continued to come up with elaborate theories to validate their initial conspiracy, including claims that Ever Given had been hacked by people allegedly loyal to the QAnon cause because the ship had charted a course that apparently resembled a penis. It was also used as proof among QAnon adherents that a “deep state reveal” was imminent.
Another popular QAnon channel on Telegram spread an even more farfetched theory, claiming that Clinton is actually dead and that the Ever Given incident was merely a dramatic reveal of her alleged crimes.
“There’s no children stuck on a ship in the Suez Canal,” wrote one QAnon influencer on Telegram on March 28. “You are watching a movie play out of how Hillary used to transport the children when she was alive. Evergreen is now everywhere on purpose. Hrc’s codename was Evergreen. It’s to bring awareness of how she did her dirty work.”
The post was read more than 263,000 times in the last 24 hours.
Despite the Ever Given conspiracy theory gaining traction among QAnon adherents across social media platforms, the theory holds no basis in reality and has been debunked by the fact-checking group PolitiFact.
“There is no evidence that an Evergreen ship stuck in the Suez Canal is linked to a human trafficking operation run by Hillary Clinton,” PolitiFact researcher Daniel Funke revealed in a recent article. “That claim has been pushed by supporters of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.”