The MSC container ship MSC Istanbul grounded in the Suez Canal on 5 March during its northbound transit. The Suez Canal Authority has succeeded in refloating the vessel using its own tugboats.
The MSC Istanbul was en route to Portugal from Malaysia. The ship was built in 2015 and sails under the Liberian flag. It is 399 metres long and can carry 15,900 TEU.
Admiral. Ossama Rabiee, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, stated that immediately after the central navigation control station had received the notification that the vessel had run aground at km 78 (Canal marking), four tugboats were deployed at once to refloat the vessel. The four tugs were the Port Said, with a bollard pull capacity of 95 tonnes, the Mosaed 1, Mosaed 2, and Mosaed 5. The Baraka 1, one of the SCA’s largest tugboats, was later sent to join the salvage operation as well.
Traffic through the canal has not been affected by the incident as all the South-bound vessels transited normally, and the rest of the North-bound convoy were instructed to transit through the Eastern waterway instead of the Western lane.
After the refloating opertion, the MSC Istanbul was able to resume its transit. The video below was posted by the Suez Canal Authority.
It is not the first time a container ship grounds in the Suez Canal. In March 2021, the 20,000 TEU Ever Given became world famous when it grounded in the Suez Canal in a sandstorm. It took about a week before the ship could be refloated. In that time, a traffic jam of hundreds of ships ensued and worldwide trade was disrupted.
Picture by Suez Canal Authority.