CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — An oil tanker broke down in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Sunday, disrupting traffic through the vital waterway, Egyptian officials said.
George Safawat, a spokesman for the Suez Canal Authority, said the Maltese-flagged Seavigor suffered a mechanical failure at the 12th kilometer (7.5 miles) of the canal. The tanker was part of the Northern Convoy, which runs through the canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
Admiral Osama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said in a telephone interview with a television station that the failure occurred in a one-lane section of the canal and affected the passage of eight other ships following in the convoy. ,
Hours later, Rabei said in a statement that navigation in the canal had returned to normal after three tugboats pulled the tanker into a two-lane area at the 17-kilometre (10.5 mi) pass. The Cvigor crew was working to fix the problem, he said, without elaborating.
The Seavigor, built in 2016, is 899 feet (274 m) long and 159 feet (48.63 m) wide, according to MarineTraffic, a ship tracking service.
Sunday’s incident was the latest case of a vessel being blocked on the vital route. Several ships have been stranded or damaged in the canal in recent years.
On 25 May, a Hong Kong-flagged freighter briefly blocked the channel. On 5 March, a Liberian-registered vessel got stuck in the two-lane area of the pass. The two ships were picked up hours later.
In March 2021, the Ever Given, a huge Panamanian-flagged container ship, hit the coast in a one-way section of the canal, blocking the canal for six days and disrupting global trade.
The canal, which opened in 1896, provides an important connection for crude oil, natural gas and freight traffic. About 10% of global trade passes through the canal, which is a major source of foreign exchange for the Egyptian government.
According to the Suez Canal Authority, 23,851 ships passed through the passage last year, compared to 20,649 in 2021. Canal revenue is projected to reach $8 billion in 2022, the highest number in its history.