| 3 December 2023, Sunday |

Suez Canal tugboat sinks after collision with tanker

The Suez Canal tugboat sank on Saturday after colliding with a Hong Kong-flagged LPG tanker, however shipping activity in the strategically critical waterway was mostly unaffected, according to the canal administration.

Convoys of ships transiting through the canal from the north were unaffected, while ships traveling from the south resumed normal service about midnight on Saturday, according to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

The tanker, Chinagas Legend, is waiting in Port Said until the completion of procedures related to the accident, (SCA) head Osama Rabie said in an earlier statement.

Two canal sources said Chinagas Legend was undamaged by the collision, was functioning normally and had anchored at Port Said.

Rabie told local TV that one of the tugboat crew had died. The dead crew member, Sayed Moussa, was a mechanic from Port Said, his family said.

Six other crew members were rescued and taken to hospital. Efforts were under way to recover the tugboat, with buoys marking its position and allowing ships to pass in the meantime, the SCA said.

The tanker, which was heading south on its journey from Singapore to the U.S., is 230 metres (755 feet) long and 36 metres (118 feet) wide, and carries a cargo of 52,000 metric tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

The Suez Canal is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. The SCA is working on an expansion of southern sections of the canal after a giant container ship, the Ever Given, got stuck there in 2021, blocking traffic for six days.

  • Reuters