Monday, February 21, 2005
A Korean-registered cargo ship broke down in the Suez Canal, blocking the passage of at least 40 ships, a canal official said. The northbound ship, Great Polaris, carrying 74,000 tons of coal to Europe, was stranded at the southern entrance of the waterway. The official, in Suez, said aid some 32 ships were stuck behind the Great Polaris, all heading to the Mediterranean. Eleven southbound ships are also waiting to go through. The ship’s crew and another from the Suez Canal Authority were trying to fix malfunctions in the engine and rudder. On average, nearly 50 ships carrying fuel and other merchandise pass through the 120-mile each day. A Liberian-registered ship blocked the waterway in November for three days. The Egyptian government-run Suez Canal authority says about 7.5 % of world sea trade passes through the canal, which connects the Mediterranean and Red seas and saves ships the longer, costlier route around South Africa.