Body of missing crew member on sunken Suez Canal tugboat retrieved

The vessel collided with a US-bound liquefied petroleum gas tanker on Saturday, killing one person and injuring six

Container ships pass under the Suez Canal Bridge. A tugboat sank in the canal on Saturday after colliding with a Hong Kong-flagged tanker. Reuters
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The body of Sayed Moussa, a crew member onboard a Suez Canal tugboat that sank in the waterway after colliding with a US-bound tanker on Saturday, has been returned to his family, the canal’s administrators have said.

Mr Moussa was reported to be missing on Saturday, but rescuers managed to extract his body on Sunday night and transport it to a nearby hospital to be handed over to his family, the Suez Canal Authority said, offering condolences to his family.

A mechanic from Port Said, Mr Moussa was one of seven crew members aboard the tugboat.

The vessel, which was struck by the Hong Kong-flagged tanker, Chinagas Legend, which was heading to the US from Singapore, was lost beneath the waters and, following a search, was located on Saturday night, Suez Canal Authority chairman Admiral Osama Rabie said.

Six of the seven crew members on board the tugboat at the time of collision were rescued and taken to a nearby hospital where they received treatment.

Mr Moussa was reportedly trapped inside the tugboat’s accommodation cabin.

Five of the injured crew members have been discharged from hospital, while one remains under observation, the authority said.

The wreckage of the tugboat, which sank after its hull sustained significant damage in the collision with the tanker and quickly filled up with water, has not yet been extracted from the water, the authority said.

Efforts to extract the wreckage are still under way, but the authority said these efforts would not affect maritime traffic through the canal.

The canal is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. The Suez Canal Authority is working to expand southern sections of the waterway after a giant container ship, the Ever Given, got stuck there in 2021, blocking traffic for six days.

Tolls paid by ships traversing the canal are among Egypt's main sources of foreign currency.

Updated: August 07, 2023, 11:34 AM