4 vessels following in south bound convoy ran aground in Suez Canal yesterday (13th Oct.).
“Vessel A” having a draught of 16.5 meters, ran aground at the entrance of Al Ballah Bypass East Branch.
While entering Al Ballah Bypass East Branch, she was slightly off-track to her port side and suddenly lost steerage. Master and pilot confirmed that vessel was aground and warned the following vessels behind her.
“Vessel B” knowing that “Vessel A” ran aground, immediately reduced speed and tried to let go her anchor, as advised by Pilot.
Master refused to let go anchor since the vessel was still making way about 4 knots SOG, and decided to beach just before “Vessel A”.
She beached/ran aground at the entrance of Al Ballah By Pass East Branch too.
Since 2 vessels were already aground at the entrance of East Branch , “Vessel C” following “Vessel B” decided to divert into Al Ballah Bypass West Branch even though the SCA ( Suez Canal Authority ) were asking them not to do so because of her deep draught.
Soon after entering the Al Ballah Bypass West Branch, “Vessel C” ran aground too.
“Vessel D” also decided to enter West Branch following “Vessel C”.
Seeing that “Vessel C” ran aground, she gave her engines astern and tried to stop.
Unfortunately, due to transverse thrusts, she swung to her starboard side and her bow and stern were grounded on the sides of the canal, blocking the West Branch totally.
The remaining south bound vessels managed to pass East Branch passing the small passage on the starboard side of 2 grounded vessels in East Branch.
Within few hours, all 4 vessels were towed to Great Bitter Lake and the canal was cleared.
Part of the north bound convoy was cancelled and north bound vessels remained in Great Bitter Lake and Gulf of Suez anchorages.
Today, on 14th Oct., I am on a south bound vessel and we have a delay of 6 hours awaiting all north bound vessels to clear the canal since there are double in numbers of ships following north bound convoy.
News Source – Suez Canal Pilot
Vessels’ names are kept confidential by Pilot.
No news have been published by SCA website.
NK @MSU ( currently @ Suez Canal )