Work still underway to lift sunken tugboat in Suez Canal

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 Aug 2023

Work is still underway to recover a tugboat that sank after colliding with the LPG tanker China Gas Legend in the Suez Canal on Saturday, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie said on Sunday afternoon.

Suez Canal
Work is still underway to recover a sunken tugboat that collided on Saturday with the LPG tanker China Gas Legend in the Suez Canal, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie. Suez Canal Official Page on facebook


The collision took place around the 51 kilometre point in the Al-Balah bypass.

One crewmember from the SCA's Fahd tugboat was killed, while the other six were successfully rescued.

Divers recovered the body of mechanic Sayed Moussa in one of the cabins of the tugboat during successive dives to check the cabins, SCA announced on Sunday.

Of the other six crew members, five were discharged from hospital on Saturday, while a crew member is still under medical observation.

Divers from the SCA’s marine rescue team are currently working to secure eight wires to the wreck, which is submerged in a 24-metre-deep section of the canal.

Securing each wire takes approximately one and a half hours, and the authorities expect the entire process to be completed within a few hours.

After the wires are attached, the wreck will be lifted out by a specialized crane, dubbed Salvage, that is designed for recovering sunken marine equipment.

The massive crane measures 60 metres long and 26.6 metres wide, and has a lifting capacity of 500 tons.

The salvage work is not currently impeding navigation in the canal, Rabie said in the statement.

He noted that 45 ships with a total tonnage of 2.7 million tons are scheduled to transit in the southbound direction, where the incident occurred, while 38 ships with a total tonnage of 2.6 million tons will transit in the northbound direction.

At the time of the collision, the China Gas Legend was crossing the Suez Canal as part of the southbound convoy on its journey from Singapore to the United States.

The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes as it is the shortest maritime route to Asia from Europe.

Since its nationalization on 26 July 1956, as many as 1.71 million ships carrying 32 billion tons of goods have transited the Suez Canal.

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