Suez Canal: SCA tows away stranded oil tanker, deepening works continue

After tugboats managed to tow away the Malta-flagged SEAVIGOUR oil tanker that broke down in the canal on Sunday, the traffic in the Suez Canal has now returned to normal.

SCA photo

According to Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA), the canal’s tugboats towed the 274-metre-long, 48-metre-wide tanker that broke down at the 12 km mark of the canal to the 17 km mark, allowing ships in both directions to pass.

SCA also said that the vessel, which has a gross tonnage of 82,000 tons, will resume its trip from Russia to China after its crew fixes the malfunction.

Over the past few years, the Suez Canal has managed to refloat ships that went aground or malfunctioned in the canal, typically in a short time after the incident.

On 25 May, the SCA towed Xin Hai Tong 23, a Hong-Kong general cargo vessel, after it suffered an engine failure. The authority also refloated the Liberia-flagged MSC-ISTANBUL cargo vessel on 5 March after it went aground at the 78 km point of the Suez Canal.

The canal authority started major development work in the waterway after the mammoth Panama-flagged Ever Given ran aground on a single-lane part of the canal in March 2021.

The incident disrupted passage through the waterway, through which around 10 percent of world trade flows, for almost a week.

As part of the development work, Egypt has been working to widen and deepen parts of the international waterway, including the part that witnessed the Ever Given crisis. 

The SCA Chairman, Osama Rabie, said that this work is set to conclude in the following months.