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Suez Canal groundings double this year

Stranding of a supramax bulk carrier this morning is the fourth such incident this year, the same number that was recorded for 2021 and 2022 combined

While incidents are comparatively higher than previous years, the overall impact on traffic flow is often minimal given the Suez Canal Authority’s quick response time

SOME four merchant ships have been stranded while transiting the Suez Canal this year, double the number recorded in 2022, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence casualty data.

Supramax bulk carrier Xin Hai Tong 23 (IMO: 9453236) ran aground after suffering engine failure while travelling northbound at 0400 hrs this morning.

The ship was refloated at 0740 hrs. Traffic resumed in both directions once the ship was towed.

This is the fourth grounding incident in the Suez Canal this year.

New panamax liquefied natural gas carrier Grace Emilia (IMO: 9884174) was the first vessel to become stranded in the waterway in 2023, running aground on February 1.

The canal was not blocked as a result and traffic flowed as normal.

The 15,900 teu containership MSC Istanbul (IMO: 9606326) became stranded on March 5 in bad weather. The ship was refloated after about five hours.

During this time northbound traffic continued as normal, while ships travelling south were rerouted from the west to east canal.



The 72,718 dwt product tanker Torm Sara (IMO: 9273260) was the most recent recorded grounding prior to this morning, experiencing issues in Great Bitter Lake while heading southbound on April 11. It took approximately four hours to refloat the ship.

The Suez Canal Authority has handled recent incidents swiftly and in a manner which limits the impact to traffic flow. This is critical given the canal is a major maritime chokepoint that connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas. 

The recent incidents are not comparable to the grounding of the 20,000 teu boxship Ever Given (IMO: 9811000) in March 2021 that shut down the Suez Canal for six days.

This lead to a major backlog in freight and severely disrupted global trade flows.

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