Giant MSC Boxship Grounds, Blocks Ships in Suez Canal

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This photo circulating online shows the MSC Fabiola hard aground in the Suez Canal.

Update (April 30): The MSC Fabiola was refloated early Saturday morning with assistance of tugs and was able to resume its southbound transit. More details at bottom. 

April 29: A giant MSC containership is hard aground in the southern end of the Suez Canal and is blocking ship traffic through the busy waterway.

The vessel is the Portuguese-flagged MSC Fabiola, a 12,500 teu, 366-meter-long containership chartered by Mediterranean Shipping Company and operated by the German company Peter Döhle Schiffahrts-KG.

The shipping agency GAC reports that the grounding occurred at kilometer 144 at about 16:30 local time on Thursday (April 28) after the ship reportedly experienced engine trouble.

Credit: MarineTraffic.com
Credit: MarineTraffic.com

AIS shows the vessel aground on the western embankment of the Canal just north of Suez. A photo circulating online confirms what can be seen in AIS. Other ships in the area of the canal where the grounding occurred show a status of either anchored or moored, according to AIS.

MSC Fabiola was number 10 in a southbound convoy of 20 vessels, GAC reported Friday. The rest of the convoy, consisting of 8 vessels, have been stopped. Northbound convoys scheduled for Friday have been suspended, while Friday’s southbound convoys started at 0800 hours local time, but will be forced to stop and wait at Great Bitter Lakes, GAC said.

“Suez Canal tugs are trying to assist the ship, but more traffic delays are expected until the grounded vessel is floated,” GAC said in a statement.

In late February, a capesize bulk carrier ran aground in the Suez Canal and remained stuck for 12 days before crews were able free the vessel.

Update from GAC on the grounding: 

The container ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal on Thursday afternoon (28 April) was refloated at around 01:20 hours local time this morning (30 April). The vessel resumed its southbound transit to Suez escorted by five tugs.

According to information from the Suez Canal Authority movement section, the Southbound Convoy (currently at Great Bitter lakes) was due to resume transit at about 02:30 – 03:00, after which the Northbound Convoy would be rescheduled.