Suez Canal Briefly Blocked by Cargo Ship, Less than 6 Months After Ever Given Also Stranded

Egypt's Suez Canal was briefly blocked by a cargo ship on Thursday, less than six months after the massive Panama-flagged Ever Given was also stranded in the canal.

The Suez Canal Authority said in a statement that the Coral Crystal ran aground in a double-lane stretch of the canal, blocking traffic in one lane. Officials redirected other vessels in the convoy to the other lane to keep traffic moving.

Carrying 43,000 tons of cargo, the Coral Crystal was refloated with the help of the canal's tugboats after it had been stuck just south of the Egyptian city El Qantara, The Independent reported. According to the canal, the Coral Crystal resumed its trip.

A canal official told The National newspaper: "It was a minor traffic issue that was resolved in less than an hour."

In March, the Ever Given ran aground in the single-lane stretch of the canal, where it remained stuck for six days before finally being released by a salvage effort from a flotilla of tugboats.

While the Ever Given was stranded, traffic through the canal was halted as there was no alternative channel to redirect boats past the blockage. Many ships were forced to take the long trek south around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, The Independent reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Ever Given blocking Suez Canal
Another ship briefly ran aground in the Suez Canal on Sept. 9, 2021, less than six months after the Ever Given blocked traffic for six days. The Ever Given leaves the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean after the settlement contract was signed on July 7, 2021, in Ismailia, Egypt. Roger Anis/Getty Images

The canal transits two convoys everyday; One north-bound to the Mediterranean and the other south-bound to the Red Sea.

Admiral Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal, described the incident involving the Coral Crystal as a "very brief grounding," which was resolved in a "professional manner."

Geoge Safwat, the canal spokesman, said 61 vessels, carrying a total of 3.2 million tons cargo, transited in the Suez Canal on Thursday. "Traffic (at the canal) was not negatively impacted in any way," since it was redirected to the other lane of waterway, he said.

Officials have not said what caused the vessel to run aground.

The ship was built in 2012 with a length of nearly 225 meters (738 feet) and a width of over 32 meters (104 feet). It was en route to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, according to Traffic Marine, a vessel tracking firm.

In contrast, the blockage earlier this year involving the Ever Given disrupted global shipment. About 10 percent of world trade flows through the canal, a pivotal source of foreign currency to Egypt. Some 19,000 vessels passed through the canal last year, according to official figures.