A giant oil tanker blocks the Suez Canal for twenty minutes
A giant oil tanker blocked the Suez Canal on Wednesday evening, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced Thursday night. The incident raised fears of a maritime traffic disruption similar to that caused by a similar event in early 2021.
‘Traffic is restored and the oil tanker Affinity V was successfully refloated’ shortly after midnight, the SCA announced, adding that it had mobilized the ‘canal rescue services in an operation which involved more than five towing vehicles’ .
The incident was caused by a “technical failure at the level of the rudder which led to a loss of control of the ship”, indicated this source, without specifying the exact duration during which the circulation in the channel had been blocked. The oil tanker Affinity V ‘wrecked in the Suez Canal at 7:15 p.m.’, a security source told AFP, adding that maritime traffic had been restored after ‘a short time’ without further details.
The canal is one of the busiest shipping routes in world trade. According to the specialized site Vessel Finder, the tanker flying the Singaporean flag is 250 meters long and 45 meters wide, and is heading for the Saudi port of Yanbu.
It is the first time that a ship has blocked the strategic canal since the incident caused by the Ever Given, a giant container ship of almost 200,000 tons whose bow was embedded in the eastern bank of the canal during a sandstorm in March 2021.
Stuck across, it blocked for several days the traffic route between Europe and Asia, which sees around 10% of world maritime trade pass. The rescue operation lasted six days and cost the life of an SCA agent. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in May approved a plan to widen and further deepen the southern part of the canal in which the ship had become stuck.
According to the SCA, Egypt lost between 12 and 15 million dollars per day of closure while insurers estimated billions of dollars in losses per day for world maritime trade. The Suez Canal in July announced a record profit of $7 billion in the staggered 2021-2022 fiscal year, after repeatedly raising ship transit fees.
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