Egypt Detains Gas Carrier after Grounding in Gulf of Aqaba

Liberian-registered Vessel Under Scrutiny Amid Environmental Concerns


Egyptian authorities have taken custody of a Liberian-registered gas carrier, the Claudia Gas, following its grounding in a precarious environmental zone within the Gulf of Aqaba. The vessel, with a deadweight tonnage (dwt) of 16,000 and a construction year of 1990, encountered a blackout on Friday, April 12, shortly after completing offloading operations at the Jordanian port of Aqaba. Allegedly en route to Russia, the vessel ran aground in the Ras Nasrani vicinity, adjacent to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh.

Salvage operations successfully repositioned the Claudia Gas to a secure anchorage near Safaga, Egypt, situated in the Red Sea. This relocation was imperative to mitigate potential environmental ramifications given the vessel’s grounding in a region of ecological significance. The Egyptian Environmental Ministry promptly mobilized resources in anticipation of an oil spill, although no such incident has been reported thus far, notably owing to the vessel’s gas tanks being devoid of content.

The occurrence coincided with the Eid Al-Fitr festivities marking the conclusion of Ramadan, a period characterized by heightened tourism activity within the area. In response, heightened coastal surveillance measures were implemented, intensifying further post-incident.

Initial speculations from Egyptian media sources suggest propulsion failure as the underlying cause of the grounding, potentially culminating in substantial penalties for the vessel, estimated to amount to tens of millions of dollars contingent on the extent of harm inflicted upon the marine reserve.

Subsequent assessments, including underwater inspections conducted by divers, aim to evaluate the extent of damage incurred by the coral reef ecosystem. Minister of the Environment, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, has affirmed ongoing evaluations to ascertain both the magnitude of ecological detriment and the feasibility of restoration initiatives.

Notably, the Claudia Gas has been under the management of Zeus Lines, a Greek-based entity, since 2020. An inspection conducted in February 2024 at Aqaba identified operational deficiencies, notably inoperative gauges, though no regulatory detention was imposed at that juncture.

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