Cargo ship breaks down, hits bridge in Suez Canal

A cargo ship broke down in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Wednesday and crashed into a bridge over the crucial waterway, authorities said, adding that the incident did not disrupt canal traffic.

The Singapore-flagged One Orpheus went off course after its rudder broke down before ploughing into the Mansi Bridge, near the port city of Ismailia, according to Adm. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority.

The incident happened in a newly expanded section of the waterway, where there are two separate shipping lanes, Rabei said in a statement. Following the incident, all ships began using the second, original shipping lane.

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Later Wednesday, the government body said the vessel’s rudder was fixed and that One Orpheus had resumed its journey north, en route from Singapore to the Netherlands. The extent of the damage to the bridge remained unclear.

USS Carter Hall in Suez Canal

Amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall transits the Suez Canal as a component of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Romonoyske-Bean)

The incident was the latest of several such accidents in the crucial waterway. A number of ships have either run aground or broken down in the Suez Canal over the past few years.

In August, two tankers carrying oil products and liquefied natural gas collided in a single-lane stretch of the canal, briefly disrupting traffic. In March 2021, the large Ever Green became wedged in a single lane stretch of the canal, blocking the waterway for six days and disrupting global trade.

Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas and cargo. About 10% of world trade flows through the canal, a major source of foreign currency for the Egyptian government.

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In 2015, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s government completed a major expansion of the canal — which included the second shipping lane — allowing it to accommodate the world’s largest vessels.