Tanker breaks down in Suez Canal, but traffic not disrupted
CAIRO (AP) — A tanker transporting liquefied natural gas broke down in the Suez Canal on Wednesday but traffic in the global waterway was unaffected, a canal spokesperson said.
The Bahamas-flagged Grace Emilia suffered a malfunction of its rudder and tugboats pulled it to the side of the canal to allow other vessels to pass, said George Safwat, a spokesperson for Egypt's Suez Canal Authority.
He told The Associated Press that the north-bound tanker stopped working in the southern part of the canal, where a two-lane waterway enables ships to transit.
Canal services provider Leth Agencies reported the incident in a Twitter post, saying vessels “can pass in both directions.”
Safwat, the spokesperson, said 68 vessels transited the canal on Wednesday. He said the canal tugs were towing the Grace Emilia to Great Bitter Lake to repair the malfunction.
A statement from the vessel's operators said no pollution or injuries had been reported from the incident. It said an underwater inspection, along with an investigation, would be conducted to determine the causes of the breakdown.
Built in 2021, the Grace Emilia is 297 meters (975 feet) long and 46 meters (151 feet) wide. Its cargo tank capacity is 174,000 cubic meters.
According to VesselFinder, a vessel tracking service provider, the Grace Emilia sails between the port of Dabhol in India and Cove Point in Maryland.
Last month, a cargo ship carrying corn went aground in the canal before it was refloated to allow the resumption of traffic.
In March 2021, the Panama-flagged Ever Given, a colossal container ship, crashed into a bank on a single-lane stretch of the canal, blocking the waterway for six days.
Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas and cargo. About 10% of world trade flows through the canal, a pivotal source of foreign currency to Egypt.
The Suez Canal Authority said 23,851 vessels passed through the waterway last year, compared to 20,649 vessels in 2021. The canal’s annual revenues reached $8 billion, the highest in its history.