Shipping article(s)
May 26, 2023

A Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship has briefly ran aground again in the Suez Canal on May 25 blocking one of the world's busiest shipping route though Egyptian authorities said they were able to refloat it shortly after.


Egyptian authorities said the vessel "Xin Hai Tong 23" ran aground inside the southern mouth of the Suez Canal due to engine failure.


"Admiral Ossama Rabiee, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority has announced today that the salvage works handled successfully and in a professional manner the incident of engine failure of the general cargo vessel "XIN HAI TONG 23" during its transit through the Canal among northbound convoy amid its journey from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Egypt," the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement.


The vessel has since been towed by three tugs to Suez Anchorage Area.


SCA noted that the vessel sailing under the Hong Kong flag stands at 190-meter overall length, 32-meter beam, and a tonnage of 34 thousand tons.


Rabiee noted that once the Central Navigation Control Center received the notice of the vessel's engine failure and anchor dropping at Km 157 Canal marking, three tugs were deployed on the spot along with the salvage team to tow the vessel.


"The three tugs were 'Ezzat Adel of 160 tons' bollard pull capacity' and the other two tugs 'Suez 1' and 'Suez 2' —  each of 75 tons' bollard pull capacity to start connecting the towline to the vessel," the statement added, noting, however, that the vessel's anchorage winch broke down causing the incapability of lifting the anchor, therefore hindering the towline connecting process.


"Once the winch was repaired, the anchor was lifted, the towlines were connected successfully, and the vessel was towed successfully," SCA added.


Navigation resumes to normal


Rabiee assured that the navigation was resumed normally in both directions once the vessel was towed as a precautionary measure aimed at ensuring the safety of navigation.


"Admiral Rabiee confirmed that SCA has all necessary salvage expertise as well as the needed navigational and technical safety potentials to deal with any potential emergency in a professional manner," the statement added.


Leth Agencies, which oversees traffic in the  Suez Canal, acknowledged the incident and said Egyptian authorities were able to refloat the vessel more than two hours later.


"M/V XIN HAI TONG 23 has grounded in the Suez Canal at KM 159/0400 hrs," Leth Agencies said in a tweet. It added that it was "leaving behind 4 vessels from the early convoy in addition to the ordinary group which was planned to enter Suez Canal at about 0600 hrs."


In September 2021, another vessel crossing the Suez Canal — Panama-flagged "CORAL CRYSTAL" carrying 43,000 tonnes of cargo run aground temporarily at the waterway, but it has also been refloated shortly after and that there was no impact on traffic.


In March 2021, 400-meter-long EVER GIVEN — one of the world's largest container vessels — ran aground  and blocked the Suez Canal for six days.


The Panama-flagged vessel, carrying US$3.5 billion worth of cargo, was traveling from China to Rotterdam.

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