Grounded ship refloated in Egypt's Suez Canal

Authorities successfully move the Xin Hai Tong 23, which was blocking four other vessels

Suez Canal Authority vessels tow the bulk carrier 'Xin Hai Tong 23' after it was refloated on Thursday morning. Suez Canal Authority via AP
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A ship has been successfully refloated after running aground in Egypt's Suez Canal and blocking at least four vessels.

The Suez Canal Authority successfully moved the Xin Hai Tong 23 on Thursday morning, Leth Shipping Agencies said.

The canal authority confirmed the ship was refloated.

“The maritime salvage works succeeded in dealing professionally with an emergency engine malfunction in the cargo ship Xin Hai Tong 23,” its chief, Admiral Osama Rabie, said.

The ship, which was heading to Egypt from Saudi Arabia, was being towed by three tugboats, Admiral Rabie said.

He said shipping traffic in both directions would return to normal “as soon as the towing process is finished”.

The Marine Traffic ship tracker and Refinitiv data had earlier shown live updates of the ship, which sails under the Hong Kong flag, as “not under command” near the southern end of the canal, where it was positioned at an angle next to the eastern bank.

The tracker showed three Egyptian tugboats surrounding the vessel.

The location of the stricken vessel in the Suez Canal. Image courtesy

The ship ran aground after sailing from Duba port in Saudi Arabia. It is owned by Xiang B12 HK International Ship Lease and managed by Tosco Keymax International Ship Management.

The Suez Canal is a man-made waterway in Egypt that links the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez.

It opened in 1869 and cuts the journey between Europe and Asia by about 8,900km, or 10 days of sailing.

The canal handles about 10 per cent of global trade. Its revenue is one of the main sources of foreign currency for Egypt, along with tourism and remittances.

In 2021, the 400-metre Ever Given container ship ran aground in the canal, blocking global trade for six days due to “technical or human errors”.

Since then, authorities have sought to ensure that the canal is widened or deepened at key locations to prevent such incidents from happening again.

They have also bought newer, more powerful tug boats to help move ships stranded in the waterway.

In February, tug boats freed the LNG tanker Grace Emilia after it was stuck in the canal for more than three hours.

The incident came three weeks after the MV Glory, bound for China carrying 66,000 tonnes of maize from Ukraine, had to be refloated after running aground.

Updated: May 25, 2023, 7:24 AM