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Officials say a grounded ship has been refloated in Egypt's Suez Canal

This is a locator map for Egypt with its capital, Cairo.
AP
This is a locator map for Egypt with its capital, Cairo.

CAIRO — The Suez Canal Authority said a cargo ship carrying corn that went aground early Monday in the Egyptian waterway was refloated and canal traffic was restored.

Adm. Ossama Rabei, head of the authority, said the Marshall Islands-flagged MV Glory suffered a technical failure and the canal deployed four tugboats to help refloat it. He said the vessel was being withdrawn to a nearby maritime park to fix the problem.

Rabei did not elaborate on the nature of the technical failure. Parts of Egypt, including its northern provinces, experienced a wave of bad weather Sunday.

Rabei said in a statement that traffic in the canal resumed after the ship was refloated and 51 vessels were expected to pass through the waterway Monday.

Marwa Maher, a media officer with the canal authority, said the vessel ran aground around 5 a.m. local time and was refloated five hours later.

Canal services firm Leth Agencies said the Glory ran aground near the city of Qantara in the Suez Canal province of Ismailia. Satellite tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press showed the Glory running aground in a single-lane stretch of the Suez Canal just south of Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea.

Leth Agencies later posted a graphic that suggested the Glory, which is owned by Greek firm Primera Shipping Inc., was against the west bank of the canal, pointed south and not wedged across the channel.

It wasn't the first vessel to run aground in the crucial waterway. The Panama-flagged Ever Given, a colossal container ship, crashed into a bank on a single-lane stretch of the canal in March 2021, blocking the waterway for six days.

The Ever Given was freed in a giant salvage operation by a flotilla of tugboats. The blockage created a massive traffic jam that held up $9 billion a day in global trade and strained supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ever Given debacle prompted Egyptian authorities to begin widening and deepening the waterway's southern part where the vessel hit ground.

In August, the Singaporean-flagged Affinity V oil tanker ran aground in a single-lane stretch of the canal, blocking the waterway for five hours before it was freed.

The Joint Coordination Center listed the Glory as carrying over 65,000 metric tons of corn from Ukraine bound for China.

The Glory was inspected by the Joint Coordination Center off Istanbul on Jan. 3. The center includes Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and United Nations staffers.

Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas and cargo. It also remains one of Egypt's top foreign currency earners. In 2015, the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi completed a major expansion of the canal, allowing it to accommodate the world's largest vessels.

Built in 2005, the Glory is 738 feet long and 105 feed wide.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Associated Press