Cairo – The Canal Authority said that an oil tanker ran aground on Wednesday in the Egyptian Suez Canal, impeding traffic in the global waterway for a while before liberating it.
The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Osama Rabie, said in a statement issued by the authority, that the ship Affinity 5, flying the flag of Singapore, was confined to one lane of the canal.
He said that five of the authority’s tugboats managed to make the ship afloat again in a coordinated operation. He said that a technical malfunction in the boat’s steering mechanism caused it to collide with the canal bank, and that navigation for other ships passing through the canal returned to normal.
A spokesman for the Suez Canal Authority told the government-affiliated satellite TV channel Extra News that the ship ran aground around 7.15 pm local time, and turned back again about five hours later.
George Safwat said the ship was part of a convoy heading south to the Red Sea. Two convoys pass through the Suez Canal every day. One is northbound to the Mediterranean and the other is southbound to the Red Sea. The man-made waterway divides the continents Africa of the Sinai Peninsula, and provides a crucial link to oil, natural gas, and goods.
Built in 2016, the vessel is 252 meters (827 ft) long and 45 meters (148 ft) wide. It sailed from Portugal and its destination was the Saudi port of Yanbu on the Red Sea, according to the spokesman.
Wednesday’s incident was not the first to block the important waterway. The huge Panamanian-flagged container ship crashed into a one-lane bank of the canal in March 2021, after being hit by a sandstorm.
The Japanese ship Ever Given closed the canal for six days before releasing it in a massive rescue attempt by a fleet of tugboats. This led to massive traffic jams that halted $9 billion a day in global trade and strained already overburdened supply chains. Corona Virus pandemic.
In September 2021, another large cargo ship ran aground before authorities could free it within hours.
After the March 2021 incident, the canal authorities began work to widen and deepen the southern part of the waterway where the Ever Geffen River ran aground.
About 10% of world trade flows through the canal, which is a pivotal source of foreign exchange for Egypt. Authorities said 20,649 ships passed through the canal last year, up 10% compared to 18,830 ships in 2020. The canal’s annual revenue was $6.3 billion in 2021, the highest in its history.
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