Suez Canal Successfully Recovers from ONE Orpheus Collision

Maritime Incident Resolved Promptly, Highlighting Canal’s Vital Role Amidst Record Volumes and Global Challenges


The Suez Canal Authority has officially confirmed the successful recovery from a recent maritime incident involving an Ocean Network Express (ONE) containership that collided with a bridge, causing disruption to the northbound convoy. The vessel involved in the incident is identified as the ONE Orpheus, a 104,525 deadweight tonnage (dwt) container ship built in 2008 and managed by NYK for ONE. The vessel, with a length of 336 meters (1,102 feet) and a capacity of 9,040 TEU, was in transit as part of its journey originating from Japan and Singapore, destined for Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

According to the Suez Canal Authority, the ONE Orpheus experienced a steering failure due to a breakdown in its rudder, resulting in the collision with a floating bridge near mile marker 74. Photographs circulating in Egyptian media depict the vessel in an askew position in the channel, with its bow having penetrated the floating bridge, leading to an angular orientation within the channel.

Despite the incident occurring in a section designed for two-way traffic, the canal authority’s attempts to redirect vessels to the western channel for the continuation of their journey were partially successful. At least six vessels in the northbound convoy were temporarily halted behind the disabled ONE Orpheus, including an MSC containership, tankers, LNG carriers, and LPG carriers.

In response to the incident, the Suez Canal Authority promptly ordered vessels in the northbound convoy to moor and drop anchor. Subsequently, four tugboats were dispatched to assist in repositioning the disabled containership. Following a multi-hour delay, the tugs successfully guided the ONE Orpheus back into the channel. After confirming the vessel’s seaworthiness, the northbound convoy, accompanied by a tug escort, resumed its journey. The six vessels directly trailing the ONE Orpheus were also able to continue their voyages.

This incident occurred in an area north of Great Bitter Lake, featuring two channels, allowing the southbound convoy to proceed unaffected. The Suez Canal is currently facing heightened pressure due to record volumes and increased diversions from the Panama Canal. The incident underscores the strategic importance of the Suez Canal, especially amidst challenges such as attacks in the Red Sea threatening maritime traffic. Notably, recent reports from November indicate a surge in both the number of vessels and tonnage passing through the canal, highlighting the critical role it plays in global maritime trade.

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