Ship briefly stranded in Egypt's Suez Canal successfully refloated

Tugboats refloated a large ship that had been stranded for several hours in the Suez Canal, shipping agent Leth Agencies said on Thursday, allowing flows through one of the world's busiest waterways to return to normal.

Leth identified the ship as the 190 metre (623 foot) Xin Hai Tong 23, a bulk carrier.

"The Suez Canal Authority has successfully refloated M/V XIN HAI TONG 23 at 0740hrs (0440 GMT). The northbound convoy will enter at 0930hrs," Leth Agencies said in a tweet.

In a statement, canal authorities said they were informed of an engine malfunction and deployed tugboats to successfully refloat the ship. The process was briefly delayed by the failure of the ship's winch, they added.

The authority confirmed that "shipping activity on both directions would return to normal as soon as the towing process is finished, as a precautionary measure."

Leth had previously tweeted that the vessel was grounded at 4 a.m. local time, disrupting at least two convoys of ships.

Refinitiv Eikon shipping data had showed the ship, which sails under the Hong Kong flag, as "not under command" near the southern end of the canal. It was initially positioned at an angle with its stern abutting the canal's eastern side but the ship appeared to have been moved towards the center and pointed south.

The trackers showed three Egyptian tugboats surrounding the vessel.

The ship had originated from Dhuba port in Saudi Arabia. It is owned by Xiang B12 HK International Ship Lease and managed by Tosco Keymax International Ship Management.

Approximately 12% of the world's trade moves through the Suez Canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

During strong winds in 2021, a huge container ship, the Ever Given, became jammed across Suez Canal, halting traffic in both directions for six days and disrupting global trade.

Last year, tug boats refloated an oil tanker that was briefly stranded in the canal after to a technical fault with its rudder, while the breakdown of a container ship in the canal caused minor delays in March.