According to Adm. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, a tanker belonging to the north convoy experienced a breakdown, causing disruption to the transit of eight other vessels behind it. The incident occurred in a single-lane section of the canal, which is part of the route from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. However, after being towed by three tugboats to a double-lane section at the 17-kilometer mark (10.5 miles), navigation at the canal returned to normal. The crew of the tanker, named Seavigour, was working on repairing the malfunction, although no further details were provided.
This recent incident adds to a series of vessels getting stuck in the crucial waterway over the past few years. On May 25, a Hong Kong-flagged ship temporarily blocked the canal, and on March 5, a Liberia-flagged ship ran aground in the two-lane section but was refloated shortly after. The most notable case occurred in March 2021 when the Panama-flagged Ever Given, a massive container ship, collided with a bank in a single-lane stretch of the canal, leading to a six-day blockage and significant disruptions to global trade.
The Suez Canal, which has been in operation since 1869, serves as a vital link for transporting oil, natural gas, and cargo. Approximately 10% of global trade flows through this canal, making it a crucial source of foreign currency for the Egyptian Government. In 2022, the canal saw an increase in vessel traffic, with 23,851 ships passing through compared to 20,649 in 2021. As a result, the revenue generated from the canal reached $8 billion in 2022, marking the highest in its history.