One of the largest container ships in the world has run aground in the Suez Canal after being blown off course by a gust of wind, causing a heavy gridlock of vessels at either end of the vital international trade artery.
The 220,000-ton, 400 metre-long “megaship” became stuck near the southern end of the canal on Tuesday.
Eight tugboats were working to free the vessel, blocking a lane through which about 50 ships a day passed in 2019, according to Egyptian government statistics.
Early reports speculated that the vessel suffered a loss of power, but the ship’s operator, Evergreen Marine Corp said it ran aground after being hit by a gust of wind.
The ship’s technical manager, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) said it ran aground in the canal at around 05.40 GMT on Tuesday and that investigation was under way to ascertain the circumstances around the incident.
Egyptian forecasters testified that high winds and a sandstorm gusting at as much as 50 kph hit the area Tuesday.
All crew are safe and accounted for and there have been no reports of injuries or pollution of the canal.
The ship which is belongs to the ultra large container ships (ULCS) category is carrying hundreds of containers bound for Rotterdam from China.