Cargo ships block the Suez canal

EgyptA large cargo ship got stuck in the Suez Canal, briefly blocking one lane on September 9.

The Suez Canal Management Board on September 9 announced that the Panama-flagged Coral Crystal cargo ship ran aground in the two-lane section of the canal, forcing other ships to change lanes. The tugboat fleet successfully liberated the 43,000-ton ship, helping it continue its journey, clearing the passage.

Coral Crystal cargo ship.  Photo: Suez Canal

Coral Crystal cargo ship. Photo: Suez Canal

Admiral Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal, called it a brief incident, which was “professionally” resolved. Geoge Safwat, a spokesman for the canal, said 61 ships carrying 3.2 million tons of cargo passed through the Suez Canal on September 9.

“Traffic in the canal is not negatively affected” by ships being diverted to another lane, he said.

Officials have not revealed what caused the ship to run aground. Coral Crystal closed in 2012, nearly 225 m long, more than 31 m wide. It is en route to the port of Sudan on the Red Sea, according to Traffic Marine, a company that tracks ships.

The incident on September 9 came less than six months after the Panamanian giant Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal. The giant ship blocked the canal for six days before being rescued by a tugboat fleet, disrupting global waterway trade. About 10% of world trade passes through the canal, providing an important source of foreign currency for Egypt. Last year about 19,000 passed through the canal.

Container ship Ever Given is towed from its mooring position in the Suez Canal, March 29.  Photo: Reuters

Container ship Ever Given is towed from its mooring position in the Suez Canal, March 29. Photo: Reuters

Hong Hanh (Follow AP)

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