Singapore-Flagged Tanker Reportedly Refloated After Running Aground in Suez Canal
22:27 GMT 31.08.2022 (Updated: 04:15 GMT 01.09.2022)
Navigation from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Suez Canal ground to a halt shortly after midnight on Thursday when a large crude oil tanker ran aground during transit.
According to reports, the Singapore-flagged crude oil tanker Affinity V had struck the bank of the Suez Canal and wedge itself sideways across the waterway early on Thursday morning.
About 40 minutes after the first reports of its getting stuck, Egyptian newspaper Youm7 reported, citing the Canal Administration, that it had been refloated. It's believed the grounding was caused by a "technical malfunction in the steering system."
The vessel was traveling from north-to-south, having left Port Said, Egypt, hours earlier en route to Yanbu al-Bahr, Saudi Arabia, a port on the Red Sea.
However, it was stuck in the southernmost passage of the multi-stage Suez Canal, near Al-Shaloufa village. While other sections of the Suez Canal have "passing lanes" for vessels to take an alternate route around such obstructions, no such alternative exists for this part of the canal.
According to Reuters, tug boats worked to release the vessel. It is rather small by oil tanker standards, having a gross weight of 62,826 tons and a summer deadweight tonnage of 114,070 tons, and measuring 826 feet long.
The situation recalls the six-day fiasco in March 2021 when the massive container transport Ever Given became stuck in a similar way in a similar part of the Suez Canal, forcing cargo shippers to find alternate routes. While some ships opted to brave the Cape of Good Hope around Africa's southernmost extremities, others sent their cargoes across rail lines or along Russia's Arctic Northern Sea Route.
After the Ever Given was refloated, Egypt held the ship in the Great Bitter Lake for months until its owners agreed to pay $900 million in damages due to lost tolls during the blockage and the costs of refloating the 1,300-foot-long vessel.