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Suez canal blocked as ship ran aground

A busy waterway in Egypt, the Suez Canal, was blocked again when a Hong Kong-flagged ship ran aground on Thursday morning. The Xin Hai Tong 23 blocked four vessels as it stopped at the southern entrance. The Suez Canal Authority said that the ship broke down due to engine failure while transiting through the canal while the canal services company said the ship ran aground. The vessel was refloated by the canal authorities after a few hours, and normal traffic was resumed. The vessel is currently at sea, 3.2 kilometers south of the canal, according to vessel tracking firm Marine Traffic.


This incident is one in several such events that have happened in the Suez Canal that also witnessed the infamous Ever Given crisis in March 2021. In January, another vessel owned by Greece’s Primera Shipping had broken down in the canal near the Egyptian city of Qantara, while a Liberia-flagged vessel had earlier run aground in the two-lane section of the waterway.


The Suez Canal, which is a vital waterway for natural gas, oil, and cargo of Egypt’s top foreign currency earners, was opened in 1869. It underwent a significant expansion in 2015, enabling it to handle the world’s largest vessels.

The contrasting reports from the canal services company and the canal authorities have created some confusion as to the exact details of the incident. The developments around the Hong Kong-flagged ship’s incident are expected to be closely monitored by the international community as the waterway is of considerable strategic importance.


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