Oil tanker sets sail after blocking Suez

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A Singapore-flag crude oil tanker was refloated Thursday and is headed to a nearby Saudi port after being stranded and briefly blocking the Suez Canal.

Tugboats from the Suez Canal Authority released the Affinity V several hours after it reported a faulty rudder. It is headed to the Red Sea port of Yanbu al-Bahr on Friday as its destination.

The SCA announced “the success of the rescue units and the authority’s tugs in saving and floating the 64,000-ton fuel tanker Affinity, which ran aground at the 143 kilometres, due to a technical malfunction at the ship’s rudder, which caused the loss of the ability to steer and strand the ship.”

The Egyptian authorities quickly got the Aframax tanker en route again to avoid the six-day disruption in March 2021, when the Hong Kong-owned Ever Given ran aground, blocking the single-lane canal and causing a major disruption to international trade.

After last year’s incident with the giant container ship owned by Japan’s Evergreen Marine, considered the third biggest in the world, the SCA fast-tracked plans to dredge and deepen the canal while extending a second canal by 2023 that would allow for increased two-way traffic.