May 31, 2023

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The ship that had been briefly stranded in the Suez Canal was successfully refloated

CAIRO (Reuters) – The Leith shipping agency said on Thursday that tugs had refloated a large ship that had been stuck for several hours in the Suez Canal, allowing the flow through one of the world’s busiest waterways to return to normal.

Leith identified the ship as a Shen Hai Tong 23-class bulk-carrier of 190 meters (623 ft) long.

“The Suez Canal Authority succeeded in refloating M/V XIN HAI TONG 23 at 0740 hours (0440 GMT). The northbound convoy will enter at 0930 hours,” Leth Agency said in a tweet.

In a statement, canal authorities said they had reported an engine fault and deployed tugs to successfully refloat the vessel. They added that the operation was briefly delayed due to the failure of the ship’s crane.

The authority stressed that “freight activity in both directions will return to normal as soon as the towing process ends, as a precautionary measure.”

Leith had previously tweeted that the ship had stopped at 4 am local time, disrupting at least two convoys of ships.

Shipping data on Refinitiv Icon showed the vessel, sailing under the Hong Kong flag, was “not in command” near the southern end of the canal. The ship was initially placed at an angle with her stern abutting the eastern side of the channel but the ship appears to have moved towards the middle and turned to the south.

Trackers showed three Egyptian tugboats surrounding the ship.

The ship had set off from the port of Al-Dhaba in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is owned by Xiang B12 HK International Ship Lease Company and operated by Tosco Keymax International Ship Management.

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A 190-metre vessel ran aground in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Thursday, reviving fears of disruption to global trade in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Approximately 12% of world trade moves through the Suez Canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

During strong winds in 2021, a massive container ship, the Ever Given, foundered through the Suez Canal, halting traffic in both directions for six days and disrupting global trade.

Last year, tug boats refloated an oil tanker that was briefly stuck in the canal after a technical rudder malfunction, while the collapse of a container ship in the canal caused minor delays in March.

(Reporting by Hatem Maher and Ahmed Tolba). Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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