CAIRO ( Associated Press) — A tanker loaded with liquefied natural gas failed Wednesday in the Suez Canal, but traffic on the waterway was not affected, a spokeswoman for the canal said.
George Safawat, a spokesman for Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority, said the Bahamas-flagged ship Grace Emilia suffered a rudder failure and tugboats towed it to the side of the canal to allow other ships to pass.
The spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the tanker, which was headed north, stopped at the southern part of the canal, where the two-lane waterway allows ships to pass.
Leith Agencies, the canal’s service provider, reported the incident in a tweet, saying ships “can pass in both directions.”
Safawat said that 68 ships passed through the canal on Wednesday. He said canal tugs were towing the Grace Emilia to Great Bitter Lake for repairs.
The ship’s operators said in a statement that no contamination incidents or injuries had been reported as a result of the incident. He added that underwater inspection and investigation would be carried out to ascertain the cause of the failure.
Built in 2021, Grace Emilia is 975 feet (297 m) long and 151 feet (46 m) wide. Its cargo capacity is 174,000 cubic metres.
According to VesselFinder, a provider of ship tracking services, the Grace Emilia operates between the port of Dabhol in India and Cove Point in Maryland.
Last month, a freighter carrying corn got stuck in the canal but was later towed to resume traffic.
In March 2021, the Ever Given, a huge Panamanian-flagged freighter, ran aground on a one-lane portion of the canal, blocking the waterway for six days.
Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal is an important link for the transport of oil, natural gas and cargo. About 10% of world trade flows through the canal, which is a major source of foreign exchange for Egypt.
The Suez Canal Authority said 23,851 ships passed through the route last year, compared to 20,649 in 2021. The canal’s annual revenue reached $8 billion, the highest in its history.