Earlier on Thursday, a ship ran aground in the Suez Canal. (Image: AP/Representative)
One of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the Suez Canal in Egypt, had a ship stuck in it until it was freed. Two tugs managed to swing the carrier around which now appears to be heading towards the Suez Gulf under its own steam.
The Suez Canal in Egypt one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world was blocked by a ship earlier today. The vessel was the Xin Hai Tong 23, a 189m-long bulk carrier that was constructed in 2010 and was cruising under the flag of Hong Kong, claimed Leth Shipping Agency. Tugboats attempted to refloat it while at least four other ships were tethered behind it.
The Suez Canal is between Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea and Suez on the Red Sea. It is only 200 metres wide at its narrowest point, an element that has previously presented challenges for ships. About 6 kilometres miles north of the southern entrance, close to the city of Suez, in 2021, the Ever Given hit the bank of a single-lane section of the canal and stayed stuck there for six days, SkyNews reported.
The ship was on its way to Rotterdam, a Dutch port, and its grounding generated pandemonium for the shipping industry, which was already under stress due to supply chain issues related to COVID-19.
The shipping statistics and news business estimated the canal's westbound and eastbound traffic to be worth about $5.1 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively, per day. The canal is the passageway for around 12% of all international trade and about 30% of all shipping containers worldwide.
The World Economic Forum estimates that travelling around the southern edge of Africa would add 3,315 nautical miles to a trip from Tokyo to Rotterdam, which is why the canal is such a popular route. A container ship from Ukraine carrying more than 65,000 tonnes of maize ran aground in the canal in January and had to be refloated. An oil tanker also grounded in a single-lane section of the canal in August last year, closing it for five hours.