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LNG tanker refloated in Suez Canal, vessel traffic unaffected

Photo: Twitter The Grace Emelia, the vessel involved in the incident (Credit Twitter)[82].jpg
An incident involving an LNG tanker which broke down in the Suez Canal on Wednesday has been resolved.

News reports said the Grace Emilia, managed by NYK, had been refloated after developing engine trouble, citing a local ship agent. They said the incident took place in a two-channel area in the middle of the canal, which facilitates freer movement than in ‘single lane’ areas.

Leth Ship Agency reported on Wednesday evening that a vessel ran aground in the canal, but was not causing traffic interruption. “The grounded vessel is LNG [carrier] Grace Emilia and it happened at Kilometre 125 in the ‘Little Bitter Lake’; vessels can pass in both directions,” it said.

A local source told Seatrade Maritime News last year that the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) had recently acquired tugs with significantly greater pulling power than those involved in the Ever Given incident in May 2021, which led to a major dislocation in global supply chains after the vessel inadvertently became stuck between the two  sides of the waterway, completely blocking traffic.

“The SCA have gone for some major tugboats—200 tons bollard pull and above. They’ve really got the strong tugboats to pull loose anything that gets stuck,” he said.

“You’ve seen the ships get bigger and the system just didn’t grow with them—the emergency tugboats, the pilot boats, the skill-sets, the risk management programs—they never kept up with the bigger sizes. I think lesson learned there. You need hardcore towing power to pull a vessel loose.”