CAIRO — An oil tanker ran aground Wednesday in Egypt’s Suez Canal, briefly blocking the global waterway, an official said.
The Singaporean-flagged Affinity V vessel had become wedged in a single-lane stretch of the canal, said George Safwat, a spokesman for Suez Canal Authority.
He told a government-affiliated Extra News satellite television the authority that operates the canal deployed tugboats and managed to refloat the vessel. It ran aground around 7:15 p.m. local time, and was refloated some five hours later, he said.
Safwat said there was a problem in the vessel’s steering systems which caused it to run aground.
He said the vessel sailed from Portugal and was en route to Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea port of Yanbu.
The vessel was part of a convoy heading to the Red Sea. The Suez Canal transits two convoys everyday, one north-bound to the Mediterranean and the other south-bound to the Red Sea.
The ship was built in 2016 with a length of 252 meters (827 feet) and a width of 45 meters (148 feet). It was en route to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, according to Traffic Marine, a vessel tracking firm.