Tanker ship damaged in Suez Canal

CAIRO (AP) — A tanker loaded with liquefied natural gas suffered a failure in the Suez Canal on Wednesday, but traffic on the waterway was not affected, a canal spokesman said.

The Bahamas-flagged vessel Grace Emilia suffered a rudder failure and tugboats moved it to the side of the canal to allow other vessels to pass, said George Safwat, a spokesman for Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority.

The spokesman told The Associated Press that the tanker, which was traveling north, stopped working in the southern part of the canal, where a two-lane waterway allows ships to pass through.

The canal’s service provider, Leth Agencies, reported the incident in a tweet, saying the vessels “can pass in both directions.”

Safwat said 68 vessels passed through the canal on Wednesday. He pointed out that canal tugs were taking the Grace Emilia to the Great Bitter Lake for repairs.

The ship’s operators said in a statement that no contamination event or injury had been reported as a result of the incident. He added that an underwater inspection and investigation will be carried out to determine the causes of the failure.

Built in 2021, Grace Emilia is 975 feet (297 meters) long and 151 feet (46 meters) wide. Its cargo capacity is 174,000 cubic meters.

According to VesselFinder, a provider of ship tracking services, the Grace Emilia sails between the port of Dabhol, India, and Cove Point, Maryland.

Last month, a freighter carrying corn ran aground in the canal but was later raised to allow traffic to resume.

In March 2021, the Ever Given, a huge Panamanian-flagged freighter, ran aground on a one-lane stretch of the canal, blocking the waterway for six days.

Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal is a crucial link for the transportation of oil, natural gas, and goods. About 10% of world trade flows through the canal, a key source of foreign currency for Egypt.

The Suez Canal Authority stated that 23,851 ships passed through the route last year, compared to 20,649 in 2021. The canal’s annual revenue reached $8 billion, the highest in its history.