Is the Suez Canal blocked? Did a ship get stuck in Egypt waterway, is it free - Affinity V blockage explained

A blockage occurred at the Suez Canal sparking fears of a repeat of the Ever Given Ship in 2021

The Suez Canal was blocked as a tanker known as the Affinity V became stuck in the southern section of the canal near Egypt.

The blockage sparked world wide fear following the effects of the Ever Given ship crisis in 2021 which heavily disrupted international trade.

But why is the Suez Canal so important and what caused the Affinity V blockage?

The ever given crisis heavily disrupted international trade in 2021 (Getty Images)

Where is the Suez Canal?

The Suez Canal is a man made waterway which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea.

Its purpose is to enable a direct route for shipping between Europe and Asia.

The Suez Canal stretches 120 miles from Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt southward towards the city of Suez.

It was built over the course of a decade in the mid 19th Century and was officially opened in November 1869.

Why is the Suez Canal important?

The Suez Canal plays an important role in facilitating international trade all over the world.

The Suez is essential to international trade as it is the only place that connects the waters of Europe with the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the countries of Asia-Pacific.

Without the Suez Canal, there would be huge delays to shipments travelling through this part of the world as they would have to travel through the whole continent of Africa. This would also lead to increased costs.

The strategic location of the canal has led to it becoming a bedrock of the modern economy.

What happened during the Affinity V blockage?

On Wednesday 31 August, the 250-metre long Affinity V tanker began its journey to Saudi Arabia when it ran aground on the southern section of the Suez Canal in Egypt.

This sparked widespread speculation that history was about to repeat itself as the Affinity V tanker became stranded in the same location as the Ever Given container ship in March 2021.

The Ever Given crisis had a devastating effect on the global economy and sent the trading market to a standstill for around seven days.

On this occasion tugboats arrived at the scene and were able to refloat the ship. The canal authority resolved the issue and the ship was able to continue its journey across the channel.

What caused the Affinity V Blockage?

George Saftwat, a spokesperson for the Suez Canal Authority, explained there was a problem in the vessel’s steering system that caused the ship to come to a halt.

The ship is 252 metres long and 45 metres wide, however, it is believed the ship was operating at 40% of its capacity, which made it easier to recover.

The Suez Canal Authority has now confirmed that the waterway is open for business as usual and that traffic has returned to normal.