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Two vessels collide in Suez Canal before being refloated

The Burri oil product tanker had to be towed from its position after suffering a steering failure. Credit: Suez Canal Authority.

Posted on August 28, 2023

The two large vessels collided after technical failures and strong water currents but were subsequently towed away by authority tugboats.

The Suez Canal Authority has said that a LNG carrier and an oil tanker that collided while moving through the canal have been refloated and moved out of the waterway, allowing navigation to continue.

The LNG carrier BW Lesmes and oil product tanker Burri made slight contact in the canal after the Lesmes came to a sudden stop due to a technical failure in steering and machinery.

The authority’s chairman and managing director Admiral Ossama Rabiee said in a statement that the SCA had immediately handled the breakdown of the vessels and emphasised that initial inspections showed there were no significant damages or pollution incidents in the vicinity of the accident.

According to the SCA, a strong water current meant that the 250m long Burri could not stop in time to avoid hitting the 295m long BW Lesmes, which had become stuck in a position across the waterway and suffered a subsequent sudden steering failure.

The BW Lesmes was struck by the Burri after experiencing a technical failure. Credit: Suez Canal Authority.

SCA tugboats were sent to tow and moor the Burri, as well as connect the tow lines of four tugboats to the BW Lesmes to tow it out of the canal’s navigational waterway.

While the incident is not likely to cause any major issues, it is the second significant technical issue for a vessel in the Suez Canal this year after the M/V Glory cargo vessel broke down and caused a brief disruption to shipping traffic in January.

Celebrating the quick response, Admiral Rabiee highlighted the SCA’s integrated system of navigation experts and marine units in the role they played in rectifying the situation.

A report by marine and logistics services company GAC said that the eight vessels in front of the incident were not affected, while the 22 vessels in the southbound convoy behind the stopped ships had now resumed transit.


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