Suez canal in Egypt blocked by grounded ship

A ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal has been refloated this morning (Thursday, May 25). The vessel was blocking one of the world’s busiest – and most important – shipping routes.

 Xin Hai Tong 23, a 189m-long bulk carrier sailing under the flag of Hong Kong, was en route to Dutch port of Rotterdam when it reportedly ran aground in Egypt.

The Leth Shipping Agency reported that tugboats are trying to re-float to vessel. The agency says at least four other ships were stuck behind it.

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However, two tugs reportedly managed to swing the carrier around and it now seems to be heading towards the Suez Gulf under its own steam.

The Suez canal runs between Port Said (Būr Sa’īd) on the Mediterranean Sea and Suez (al-Suways) on the Red Sea. It enables shipping from the far east to get to Europe without having to make the long voyage around Africa. 

About 12% of global trade – including around one million barrels of oil and roughly 8% of liquefied natural gas – pass through the canal each day.   In 2021, the Ever Given caused chaos for a shipping industry already under pressure from Covid-related supply chain when it was stick in the Suez canal for six days.   

Lloyd’s List data revealed Ever Green held up an estimated $9.6bn of trade along the waterway each day. That equates to $400m and 3.3 million tonnes of cargo an hour, or $6.7m a minute.