On Wednesday, the Suez Canal made headlines once more when the 250-meter-long oil ship “Affinity V” became trapped in the confined southern stretch. It was close to where the cargo ship “Ever Given” got stopped in 2021, disrupting the flow of supplies through the area.
Before it was eventually allowed to go ahead, the crude oil tanker Affinity V, which was sailing from Portugal to Saudi Arabia, was stranded for about four to five hours. The ship was brought to afloat by using quite a few tugboats, and the occupied path returned to normal within a short time, as reported by the Suez Canal Authority.
What do Suez Canal Authorities have to say?
Suez Canal Authority spokesman George Safwat told the Egyptian government-affiliated satellite television Extra News that the Affinity ran aground on Wednesday at around 7.15 p.m. local time and was refloated five hours later.
The ship ran aground due to a fault with its steering systems, according to Safwat. He claimed that the ship had departed from Portugal and was sailing for the Red Sea port of Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.
About the Suez Canal
The canal, which is the quickest route between Asia and Europe, is used for about 12% of all global trade. The ship, which measures 252 metres (827 feet) in length and 45 metres (148 feet) in width, was constructed in 2016. The ship was travelling in a convoy toward the Red Sea.
Every day, two convoys travel through the Suez Canal, one heading north to the Mediterranean and the other south to the Red Sea.
Suez Canal was obstructed back in 2021
The incident occurred later than a year after a Japanese-owned megaship obstructed the Suez Canal for a week, hurting international trade and prompting a six-day operation by Egyptian personnel and foreign salvage experts to free it.
On March 23, 2021, a Panama-flagged ship travelling to the Dutch port of Rotterdam collided with a canal bank about 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, close to the city of Suez.
How did tge problem resolve so quickly this time?
Ever Given was a much bigger ship than Affinity V, measuring 1,312 feet (400 metres), which perhaps contributed to the difficulties encountered in keeping the ship afloat last year.
The crew may have made swift progress this time around thanks to lessons learned from previous mistakes. The fact that Affinity V was partially loaded was an additional benefit, as confirmed by Citizen Lab researcher John Scot-Railton in a tweet.
But Affinity V’s issues are far from resolved. Tanker Trackers, a ship tracking service, reported that the tanker is now depending on tugboats to get it to a port after losing its capacity to steer independently. The tanker is currently in the Suez Gulf.
We can only hope that the second channel’s development will be finished soon and that using the recently erected swing bridge will also become the new normal at the canal now that traffic in the Suez Canal has returned to normal.
Suze Canal is one of Egypt’s biggest economic points
Egypt depends heavily on the canal economically; the canal administration estimates that each day the waterway was blocked, Egypt lost between $12 and $15 million in income.
According to the report, about 19,000 ships travelled through the canal in 2020, or an average of little over 50 each day.
After the Ever Given shipping ship was let free, Egypt confiscated it and demanded payment, which started a legal battle.
After weeks of discussions and a legal stalemate, Egypt’s canal authorities and the Japanese owners of the yacht finally reached a deal.