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Grounded ship refloated in Egypt's Suez Canal, says officials

Vessel ran aground around 5am local time and was refloated five hours later

Suez canal The cargo vessel which was sailing to China and was briefly stranded in Egypt's Suez Canal early today due to a technical fault, is seen while Authority's Maritime rescue team and tug boats are seen on the tow of it in the canal of Ismailia | Reuters

Egyptian authorities said a cargo ship carrying corn that went aground early on Monday in the Suez Canal was refloated and traffic through the crucial waterway was restored.

Admiral Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said the Marshall Islands-flagged MV Glory suffered a sudden technical failure while transiting through the canal, and the authority deployed four tugboats to help refloat it.

He said the vessel, which is owned by Greek firm Primera Shipping Inc., was part of a north-bound convoy heading to China before it broke down at the 38-kilometre mark of the canal, near the city of Qantara in the province of Ismailia.

“After being refloated, the vessel was towed to a nearby maritime park to fix the problem,” Rabei said. The canal's media office shared images showing the vessel being pulled by tugboats.

Rabei did not elaborate on the nature of the technical failure. Parts of Egypt, including its northern provinces, experienced a wave of bad weather Sunday.

He said in a statement that traffic in the canal resumed after the ship was refloated and 51 vessels were expected to pass through the waterway in both directions on Monday.

"Traffic through the Canal was uninterrupted as 26 North-bound vessels are already in the waterway and (a) South-bound convoy will resume its journey right upon the SCA tugboats-assisted transit of MV GLORY," Rabei said.

Marwa Maher, a media officer with the canal authority, told The Associated Press the vessel ran aground around 5am local time and was refloated five hours later.

Canal services firm Leth Agencies said the Glory ran aground near Qantara and posted a graphic that suggested the ship was against the west bank of the canal, pointed south and not wedged across the channel.

Satellite tracking data analysed by the AP showed the Glory running aground in a single-lane stretch of the Suez Canal just south of Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea.

The Glory wasn't the first vessel to run aground in the crucial waterway. The Panama-flagged Ever Given, a colossal container ship, crashed into a bank on a single-lane stretch of the canal in March 2021, blocking the waterway for six days.

The Ever Given was freed in a giant salvage operation by a flotilla of tugboats.

The blockage created a massive traffic jam that held up $9 billion a day in global trade and strained supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ever Given debacle prompted Egyptian authorities to begin widening and deepening the waterway's southern part where the vessel hit ground.

In August, the Singaporean-flagged Affinity V oil tanker ran aground in a single-lane stretch of the canal, blocking the waterway for five hours before it was freed.

The Joint Coordination Centre listed the Glory as carrying over 65,000 metric tonnes of corn from Ukraine bound for China.

The Glory was inspected by the Joint Coordination Centre off Istanbul on January 3. The centre includes Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, and United Nations staffers.

Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas and cargo. It also remains one of Egypt's top foreign currency earners. In 2015, the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi completed a major expansion of the canal, allowing it to accommodate the world's largest vessels.

Built in 2005, the Glory is 225 metres (738 feet) long and 32 metres (105 feet) wide.


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