Over the weekend, a grounding of a container ship due to engine failure resulted in a cascading effect of a total of 5 ships being involved in multiple collisions and ended up temporarily blocking the Suez Canal. Currently, there seem to be multiple points of failure, with both ship personnel and Canal authorities, since previous incidents of a disabled ship have never led to multiple collisions like this.
It started with the container ship AENEAS, which was proceeding in the southbound convoy on July 15, suffering an engine failure and grounding which resulted in the collision of three bulk carriers PANAMAX ALEXANDER, SAKIZAYA KALON AND OSIOS DAVID, as they failed to react in time. All ships reportedly sustained damages and were taken alongside the Canal with the help of tugs. This accident resulted in the southern part of the Canal being closed for a few hours. To add to this mess, an NYK Post-Panamax container ship NYK ORPHEUS struck PANAMAX ALEXANDER when it was being towed, with this collision causing damages on both ships.
Conflicting reports state that the bulker Panamax Alexander had also grounded, was refloated on Monday afternoon and taken to the Great Bitter Lakes.
Today’s data from Marine Traffic shows NYK ORPHEUS is anchored off Port Said, while PANAMAX ALEXANDER and SAKIZAYA KALON were taken back north and anchored in Great Bitter Lakes. OSIOS DAVID is currently anchored off Port Suez while AENEAS was underway in the Red Sea, continuing her voyage.
The canal has been opened for normal transit but the delays caused were expected to affect schedules up to Tuesday, 17th July 2018, and possibly even further.