Ship briefly runs aground in Egypt’s vital Suez Canal, is later refloated

Hong Kong-flagged Xin Hai Tong 23 is quickly rescued and taken elsewhere by tugboats, in incident reminiscent of 6-day clogging of critical waterway by Ever Given vessel

Bulk carrier ship Xin Hai Tong 23, left, is towed after it ran aground at the southern mouth of the Suez Canal in Egypt, May 25, 2023. (Suez Canal Authority via AP)
Bulk carrier ship Xin Hai Tong 23, left, is towed after it ran aground at the southern mouth of the Suez Canal in Egypt, May 25, 2023. (Suez Canal Authority via AP)

CAIRO, Egypt — A Hong Kong-flagged ship briefly ran aground Thursday in Egypt’s vital Suez Canal, though authorities said they were able to refloat it after it momentarily disrupted the waterway.

The Xin Hai Tong 23 ran aground at the southern mouth of the Suez Canal, the body that oversees the waterway said in a statement. The ship was being towed to another area by three tugboats after an “emergency malfunction” that caused it to stop sailing, it said.

The Suez Canal Authority said that traffic flow had returned to normal in the canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Leth Agencies, which oversees traffic in the canal, had said that four other vessels were stopped in line behind it after it ran aground.

The ship is a bulk carrier, which typically carries cargo. The ship measures some 190 meters (625 feet) by 32 meters (105 feet).

The Ever Given, a colossal container ship that crashed into a bank on a single-lane stretch of the canal in March 2021, blocking the waterway, was bigger.

A massive salvage effort by a flotilla of tugboats, helped by the tides, freed the skyscraper-sized vessel six days later, ending the crisis and allowing hundreds of waiting ships to pass through the canal.

This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, March 28, 2021. (©Maxar Technologies via AP)

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