Containership Grounds in Suez Canal Briefly Interrupting Traffic

groundings delay Suez Canal transits
Convoy in the Suez Canal (file photo)

Published Nov 26, 2020 6:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

For the second time in two months, a containership has grounded in the Suez Canal interrupting the flow of traffic. 

Today’s incident began when the 199,700 dwt Al Muraykh reportedly lost power and grounded in the southbound traffic lanes. Two dozen vessels that were ahead of the containership in the southbound convoy were not affected and continued their transit while nine other southbound vessels were caught behind the ship. The northbound convoy was also reportedly suspended.

The Suez Canal Authority dispatched assistance to the stranded vessel and after five hours the containership was refloated and moved to an anchorage for inspection, permitting traffic to resume in the Suez. Hapag Lloyd, operator of the 18,800 TEU vessel, reported that it expected the ship to proceed on its voyage uninterrupted. 

In October, the CMA CGM Missouri, a 9,448 TEU containership also grounded during a southbound convoy. In that instance, the vessel also reportedly blacked out during the transit causing it to lose steering and ground on the canal bank damaging its rudder. Suez Canal tugboats were able to free the vessel and also move it out of the traffic lane.

In the recent instances, the vessels behind the grounded ship were able to stop without causing further damage. However, in July 2018 three bulkers collided after the containership in front of them grounded. As they were clearing the vessels, one of the bulkers again collided with a northbound containership. Around the same time, a crude oil tanker also briefly grounded. The series of incidents caused numerous delays in the transit.