CAIRO, March 25 (Xinhua) — Navigation in the Suez Canal has been suspended temporarily until the re-floatation work on a ship grounded in a new course is finished, Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Thursday.
The 224,000-ton Ever Given, a Panama-flagged container ship, was grounded early Tuesday in the new passage after losing the ability to steer amid high winds and a dust storm, the SCA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The accident caused a diversion of other huge vessels to the old channel to ease the traffic.
Rabie said 13 ships crossed the old course on Wednesday coming from Port Said as the grounded ship was expected to continue its route after the floating work was finished.
However, the 13 ships were stuck and an alternative was needed until completely resuming navigation, which would be possible after completely finishing the floating work, he added.
Eight tug boats, with each being able to pull 160 tons, were deployed to free the 400-meter-long and 59-meter-wide vessel that has turned sideways in the canal.
The Suez Canal is a major lifeline for global seaborne trade since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa, thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 km.
Some 12 percent of the world trade volume passes through the man-made waterway, a major source of hard currency in Egypt. Enditem