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Suez Canal Resumes Traffic After ONE Containership Incident

The Suez Canal faced a brief disruption today as the Ocean Network Express (ONE) containership, ONE Orpheus, collided with a floating bridge, impacting northbound convoy traffic. The incident occurred in a two-way traffic section, causing a backlog of at least six vessels despite efforts by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) to divert ships to the western channel for completion of their journey.

A technical malfunction sustained by the rudder of the container vessel ONE ORPHEUS during its transit through the Canal amongst vessels of the south convoy on its journey from Singapore to the Netherlands.The ONE Orpheus,104,525 deadweight tonnage (dwt) vessel managed by NYK for ONE, experienced a steering failure due to a rudder breakdown. The collision transpired near mile marker 74, with the vessel’s 336-meter length and 9,040 TEU capacity posing a significant obstacle.

Egyptian media depict the vessel askew in the channel, its bow cutting through the floating bridge, and the ship at an angle in the channel.

AIS signals revealed an MSC containership and other vessels held behind the disabled ONE vessel, including tankers, LNG, and LPG carriers. Upon notification, the SCA directed the northbound convoy to moor and drop anchor, dispatching four tugs to aid the disabled containership.

After a delay of several hours, tugs successfully repositioned the ONE Orpheus, allowing the northbound trip to resume with a tug escort. The six vessels directly behind the incident also continued their voyage. The southbound convoy proceeded without disruption, given the incident’s location in an area with two channels.

ONE Orpheus has cleared the northern terminus, anchoring to the Port. AIS signals indicated the last of the northbound convoy approaching Port.

This incident occurred amid record volumes in the Suez Canal, facing increased pressure due to vessels diverting from the Panama Canal and heightened Red Sea attacks. November witnessed a more than four percent increase in ship traffic compared to the previous year, with 2,264 vessels transiting the canal, marking a rise of 93 vessels. Net tonnage also surged over eight percent to reach 135.5 million tons.

In the face of challenges, the Suez Canal remains a vital maritime route, navigating disruptions efficiently and ensuring the smooth flow of global trade.

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