CAIRO — An oil tanker ran aground in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Wednesday, briefly blocking the global waterway before its release, the canal authority said.
The Singapore-flagged Affinity V vessel had become stuck in a single-track section of the canal, Suez Canal Authority chief Osama Rabie said in a statement released by the body.
He said five of the authority’s tugs managed to refloat the vessel in a coordinated operation. He said a technical failure in the boat’s steering mechanism caused it to hit the bank of the canal and the navigation of other vessels passing through the canal had returned to normal.
A spokesman for the Suez Canal Authority told government-affiliated satellite TV channel Extra News that the ship ran aground around 7.15pm local time and was floating again. about five hours later. George Safwat said the ship left Portugal and its destination was the Saudi port of Yanbu on the Red Sea.
He said the ship was part of a convoy heading south towards the Red Sea. Two convoys pass through the Suez Canal every day; One to the north towards the Mediterranean and the other to the south towards the Red Sea.
The vessel was built in 2016 with a length of 252 meters (827 ft) and a beam of 45 meters (148 ft).
In March 2021, the Japanese Ever Given, a colossal container ship, was stuck in the channel for almost a week.
Shaken by a sandstorm, the Ever Given crashed into a bank of a single-track section of the canal about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the town of Suez. The lockdown created a massive gridlock that tied up $9 billion a day in global trade and strained supply chains already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.
A few months later, in September 2021, another large ship ran aground before authorities managed to free it within hours.