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Oil tanker blocked Suez Canal for more than five hours

The Suez Canal again on global media headlines with over five hours remained blocked as the oil tanker Affinity V ran aground while crossing the artificial sea-level waterway on 22:56 UTC on 31 August.

The pilot of the Saudi Arabia bound tanker, which sailed from Portugal, lost control due to steering failure and the ship got stuck close to the spot where Ever Given remained aground in March last year for nearly a week suspending movement of any vessel through the 120 miles long canal.

The 252-metre long tanker, however, could be refloated by using a number of tugboats by the canal’s salvage team, said Ossama Rabiee, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) in a statement.

He announced that the 64,000-ton oil tanker ran aground at the 141 km mark (canal marking) of the Suez Canal “due to technical failure in the rudder which led to loss of steering ability”.

“Five tugboats were deployed to the incident’s location as well as the SCA’s salvage division to carry out rapid intervention measures and refloat the vessel,” the statement mentioned.

The Singapore flagged tanker is a 114,070 dwt vessel which was built in 2016 and is operated by Transpetrol Maritime Services of Belgium.

The Suez Canal Authority did not announce immediately how much compensation the oil tanker will have to pay for keeping the busy trade route for hours through which US$9 billion per day of global trade passes.

Sharar Nayel
Asia Correspondent

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