A container ship broke down in the Suez Canal on Friday, but it was quickly refloated and had no impact on traffic in the busy waterway, the Suez Canal Authority said. The Maersk Emerald, which sails under the Singapore flag, was grounded on the northern end of the canal following some engine trouble. The issue was nowhere near as serious as the Ever Given's grounding in March that blocked the Suez Canal for six days.
Leth Agencies reported on Twitter that the ship was grounded on the northern end of the canal. It was the fifth ship in a southbound convoy, reports gCaptain. Hours after it was grounded, the ship was refloated and operations at the Suez Canal resumed as usual. The Suez Canal Authority also reported that four tugboats were used to get the Maersk Emerald moving. The ship later arrived at the Great Bitter Lake for inspection.
"We hereby confirm that Maersk Emerald has been refloated and will be anchored at Great Bitter Lake, part of the Suez Canal, to proceed with the investigation about the causes that brought her to run aground on May 28th," Maersk, a Danish shipping company, said in a statement. "Built in 2012, she is a TC* vessel with Singapore flag that navigated southbound in the moment she stranded. All crew members are safe."
The brief incident with the Maersk Emerald brought back memories of the Ever Given situation, just over two months ago. On March 23, the Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, blocked the Suez Canal after high winds. The ship was stuck for six days, bringing international trade to a standstill. The ship is still held by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), which initially sought a $916.5 million claim against Japanese owner Shoei Kisen, reports Reuters.
Kisen's lawyers claim the SCA is responsible for the Ever Given getting stuck. They accused its officials of allowing ships to move through the canal despite the bad weather. They argue that the SCA has found no evidence that the grounding was the ship's fault. The lawyers also played recordings in court revealing that SCA pilots and its control center argued over whether the Ever Given should enter the canal that day. Kisen's attorneys said the Ever Given should have been helped by two tug boats, but that assistance never came.
On Thursday, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said the Ever Given was at fault because it was moving at a high speed and the size of its rudder, reports Reuters. Rabie said the ship's staff could have chosen on their own not to enter the canal because of the bad weather. The SCA is now seeking $550 million from Kisen, including a $200 million deposit before the ship is released.