Cargo ship goes aground, is refloated in Egypt’s Suez Canal

Cargo ship goes aground, is refloated in Egypt’s Suez Canal

CAIRO — A cargo ship carrying corn that capsized early Monday in the Suez Canal has been refloated and traffic through the important waterway has been restored, Egyptian authorities said.

According to adm. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, Marshall Islands-flagged MV Glory suffered an unexpected technical failure during transit through the canal and four tugs were deployed to help refloat it.

The ship, owned by Greek firm Primera Shipping Inc., was heading to China before it broke down at the 38-kilometer (24-mile) mark of the channel, near the town of Qantara in Ismailia province, Rabei said.

After moving, the ship was towed to a nearby marine park to fix the problem, he said as the channel’s media office shared images showing the ship being towed by tugboats.

Rabei did not elaborate on the nature of the technical failure. Parts of Egypt, including its northern provinces, experienced severe weather on Sunday. Traffic in the canal resumed after the ship was moved and 51 ships were expected to pass through the waterway in both directions on Monday, Rabei’s statement added.

Marwa Maher, a media officer with the canal authority, told The Associated Press that the ship went down around 5 a.m. local time and took off again five hours later.

Canal services firm Leth Agencies posted a map suggesting the ship was facing the west bank of the canal, heading south rather than weaving along the canal. Satellite tracking data analyzed by the AP showed the Glory crashed on a single-lane stretch of the Suez Canal south of Port Said in the Mediterranean Sea.

Traffic Marine, a ship-tracking firm, said the China-bound Glory was moving through the channel at 8.5 knots when an engine failed.

The Glory was not the first ship to go down in the important waters. The Panama-flagged Ever Given, a colossal container ship, ran aground on a one-lane stretch of the canal in March 2021, blocking the waterway for six days.

Ever Given was released in a mammoth rescue operation by a flotilla of tugboats. The blockade created a massive traffic jam that held up $9 billion a day in global trade and strained supply chains already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ever Given debacle prompted Egyptian authorities to begin widening and deepening the southern part of the waterway where the ship ran aground.

In August, the Singapore-flagged Affinity V oil tanker ran aground on a single-lane stretch of the canal, blocking the waterway for five hours before being freed.

The Joint Coordination Center listed Glory as transporting more than 65,000 metric tons of corn from Ukraine to China. The ship was inspected by the center – which includes Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and United Nations staff – near Istanbul on January 3.

Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal provides an essential link for oil, natural gas and cargo. It also remains one of Egypt’s main foreign exchange 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 ships.

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


Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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