Grounded Bulker Refloated in Suez Canal

File image - vessels moored near El Ballah

Published Mar 9, 2016 2:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

The grounded bulker New Katerina has been refloated, twelve days after she went aground in the Suez Canal, according to local media reports and AIS tracking data.

As of Monday morning, the Katerina had travelled north from the position of her grounding and stopped in a branch of the canal north of Al Firdan, according to her AIS.

Egyptian outlet Al Wafd reported that the 170,000 dwt bulker suffered multiple hull breaches in the grounding, flooding several cargo holds containing iron ore. The casualty required days of lightering to reach the damaged sections for temporary repairs.

The Suez Canal Authority said that traffic was not affected thanks to the New Suez Canal expansion's separate northbound and southbound waterways. The expansion opened last year, adding 40 nautical miles of parallel channels and dredged lanes. The New Katerina went aground in one of the two parallel waterways at kilometer 63, just north of Ismailia.

The Canal Authority said that it lightered and refloated the vessel using its own assets. Work proceeded 24 hours a day for several days with a clamshell bucket and crane, scooping out the iron ore and loading it onto six carriers.

“The international navigation channel [operated] regularly and did not stop, and we [worked] day and night to develop the . . . service provided to the movement of world trade,” said the head of the Canal Authority, Admiral Mohab Mamish.

The bulker went aground on February 25 while en route southbound on a voyage from Ukraine to Qingdao, China. Investigation into the cause of the grounding is ongoing.

New Katerina (ex name Katerina Warrior) was built in 1997 by Daewoo. Her ClassNK registry, last updated in June of 2015, lists her owner as Olympus Ventures and her management company as New Shipping Limited.

A video of the refloat was posted March 8 by the Canal Authority: