Update (0800ET): Six ships that had been stuck behind the Rumford have started to move as this morning's latest traffic trouble in the Suez dissipates. The first vessel, Aframax crude tanker Minerva Nike, heading north through the canal at nearly 12 knots at around noon London time. The Rumford, meanwhile, has entered the Great Bitter Lake.
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Update (0700ET): The Italian tanker "is now operational and just resumed the Suez Canal Transit. The northbound convoy flow is back to normal," according to an emailed note from Inchcape Shipping Services obtained by Bloomberg.
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As Yogi Berra might say, this sounds like "de ja vu all over again."
Little more than a week has passed since the Ever Given was successfully freed from a particularly narrow passage in Egypt's Suez Canal, yet the canal is already struggling with another potential blockage Tuesday.
Shipping firm Sharaf Group reported that traffic in the Suez has been halted after another tanker was stricken with engine trouble. Data from tankertrackers.com showed the blockage in the northbound lane, along with a handful of tugboats dispatched to aid the ship.
Bloomberg identified the Italian tanker Rumford as the culprit, and quoted the Sharaf Shipping Agency saying in a note to clients that the ship "caused blocking for all vessels transiting" the canal.
The Suez Canal Authority "took immediate action and tried to remove the vessel form channel using their tugs" said Sharaf, which helps manage traffic in the waterway. Tanker "had a black out whilst she was transiting the SC within the northbound convoy" the SCA said. The blockage started at 1015 local time Tuesday.
"SCA tugs are now towing the vessel away from the passage to allow the flow of vessels convoys to resume," the agency said.
SCA is towing the vessel with tugboats after the ship was "handicapped" moving north the canal according to Inchcape Shipping Services.
There seems to be a slowdown of traffic at the #Suez Canal again, as another ship, the #Rumford, is facing difficulties there.— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) April 6, 2021
We are waiting on details but as you can see from our Playback video, tugs in the area rushed to help the #tanker. #SuezLiveonMT pic.twitter.com/f5AGcG8vHG
Still, the delay has caused a temporary disruption of traffic in the canal's northbound lane, as ship-tracking services show.