China-bound oil tanker breaks down in Suez Canal; traffic resumed
Suez Canal Authority head Osama Rabie states traffic in the Canal was resumed after the vessel was towed away.
Three tugboats were sent to tow an oil tanker that suffered a machine malfunction as it was crossing the Suez Canal en route from Russia to China, Suez Canal Authority said on Sunday.
"As soon as the main navigation control center received notification of a malfunction of the SEAVIGOUR oil tanker, which broke down at the 12th kilometer of the canal as it was traveling as part of the northern convoy en route from Russia to China, three rescue tugs were immediately dispatched … Work is currently underway to connect the tugboats to the ship in preparation for towing," head of the authority, Osama Rabie, said in a statement.
Traffic in both directions returned to normal after a brief disruption, a statement later confirmed.
Three tugboats "successfully towed and moored the ship" at a shipyard where the technical fault will be fixed before the tanker "resumes its crossing," according to a statement.
The statement revealed that the relevant administration had the expertise and resources needed to manage possible emergencies in a professional manner.
Brief disruptions caused by ships breaking down or running aground are common in the waterway, through which about 10% of global maritime trade passes.
In March 2021 the giant container ship Ever Given caused a nearly week-long stoppage in Suez traffic after it ran aground diagonally in the waterway.
The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean and Red seas, carries about 10% of global trade, including 7% of global oil. It was first opened in 1869 and provides Egypt with both national pride and foreign currency. The unprecedented 2021 revenues came as the shipping industry was still reeling from the effects of a two-year coronavirus pandemic.