Ships are anchored outside the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt, 25 March 2021. EFE/EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship refloated after breakdown in Suez Canal

Cairo, May 25 (EFE).- Tugboats have freed a cargo ship after it briefly ran aground in Egypt’s Suez Canal in what was the latest in a series of similar incidents this year, the canal authority (SCA) said on Thursday.

The Hong Kong-flagged Xin Hai Tong 23, which was coming from Saudi Arabia, got stuck early Thursday for several hours and interrupted the marine traffic in the vital waterway.

“The salvage works handled successfully and in a professional manner the incident of engine failure of the general cargo vessel ‘XIN HAI TONG 23’ during its transit through the Canal,” SCA head Osama Rabiee said in a statement.

Rabiee assured shipping traffic had “resumed normally in both directions once the vessel was towed as a precautionary measure aimed at ensuring the safety of navigation.”

The 190-meter-long Xin Hai Tong 23X in Hai Tong 23 broke down at “KM 159/0400 hrs – leaving behind 4 vessels from the early convoy in addition to the ordinary group which was planned to enter Suez Canal at about 0600 hrs,” shipping agency Leth wrote on Twitter.

Rabiee pointed out that the “SCA has all necessary salvage expertise as well as the needed navigational and technical safety potentials to deal with any potential emergency in a professional manner.”

So far this year, four vessels have broken down in the Suez Canal, including the MSC Istanbul container ship which forced some traffic to be diverted while heading to Portugal from Malaysia.

In March 2021, the colossal container ship Ever Given blocked the canal for almost a week after it went aground amid strong winds and a sandstorm, disrupting traffic on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.EFE