According to Egyptian authorities, a crude oil tanker experienced a breakdown in a narrow section of Egypt's Suez Canal on June 4, causing a brief disruption in global waterway traffic.
The Seavigour, a Malta-flagged vessel, encountered a mechanical malfunction at the 12-kilometer mark of the Suez Canal, as stated by George Safwat, spokesperson for Egypt's Suez Canal Authority. Safwat confirmed that the tanker was part of the north convoy, which traverses the canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.
According to Adm. Ossama Rabei, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, the tanker experienced a breakdown in a narrow section of the waterway, resulting in disruption for eight other vessels behind it. However, after being towed by three tugboats to a wider section at the 17-kilometer mark, normal navigation resumed, as reported by Mr. Rabei in a subsequent statement. The crew of the Seavigour is currently engaged in repairing the malfunction, with no additional details provided at this time.
In the latest incident on June 4, another vessel encountered trouble in the vital waterway, adding to the series of ships that have been reported stuck in the Suez Canal. Over the past few years, numerous vessels have either run aground or experienced breakdowns in this critical maritime passage.
On May 25, a Hong Kong-flagged ship briefly obstructed the canal, causing a temporary disruption. Similarly, on March 5, a Liberia-flagged vessel ran aground in the two-lane section of the waterway. Fortunately, both incidents were resolved within hours, and the vessels were refloated.
One of the most notable incidents occurred in March 2021 when the Panama-flagged Ever Given, an immense container ship, crashed into a bank in a single-lane stretch of the canal. This incident resulted in a six-day blockage, causing significant disruptions to global trade.
The Suez Canal, established in 1869, plays a critical role in facilitating the transport of oil, natural gas, and cargo. Approximately 10% of world trade passes through this strategic waterway, making it a vital source of foreign currency for the Egyptian government. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the canal witnessed an increase in vessel traffic, with 23,851 vessels passing through in the previous year compared to 20,649 in 2021. Moreover, the canal's revenue reached a record-breaking $8 billion in 2022.
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