Cairo – An oil tanker briefly became stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Wednesday night, officials announced, raising fears that last year’s major blockage of the global maritime route could be repeated.
The Affinity V “ran aground in the Suez Canal at 19:15″ (17:15 GMT)”, a security source told AFP, adding that maritime traffic had been restored after “a short period of time”.
The incident was caused by “technical damage to the rudder resulting in a loss of control of the ship”, according to the Suez Canal Authority, which said the 64 000-ton tanker had been “successfully refloated”.
The SCA said it had quickly mobilised more than five towing vehicles for the operation.
According to website Vessel Finder, the 250-metre-long, Singaporean-flagged tanker is headed for the Saudi port of Yanbu.
The Suez Canal, a vital portal between Asia and Europe, sees about 10 percent of the world’s maritime trade.
Last year, super tanker Ever Given became wedged diagonally across the canal during a sandstorm, disrupting world trade for nearly a week.
According to the SCA, Egypt lost between $12 million and $15 million every day of the closure, while insurers estimated the global maritime trade suffered billions of dollars of lost revenue per day.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi approved a project in May to widen and deepen the southern portion of the canal where the Ever Given had gotten stuck.