Efforts are underway this afternoon to refloat the stricken 154,970 dwt tanker TROPIC Brilliance
which ran aground in the Suez Canal on Saturday evening after a steering gear failure.
Disruption on one of the world's key short cuts for shipping delayed around 60 vessels on the first day alone.
Latest information at the time of writing was that a smaller tanker was at the scene,
with the intention of transferring around 25,000 tonnes of crude off the grounded vessel.
A Smit salvage tug master is preparing to board the vessel to assess the situation.
A large tug would then attempt to dislodge the vessel, which after the refloat would be
taken to a nearby safe anchorage for diving inspection.
The double-hulled Tropic Brilliance ( built 1992) experienced steering gear failure
while near Ismailiya, around 84 miles northwest of Cairo. No pollution
has resulted from the incident, and all cargo tanks are reportedly undamaged.
But unfortunately, the vessel grounded in a transverse position, impeding other traffic.
Liberian-flag Tropic Brilliance is owned by
Russia's part-privatised Sovcomflot, crewed by CIS nationals, and managed out of Cyprus by Unicom.
It had recently loaded a cargo of crude - of probably around 85,000 tonnes - at Mina-Saud in Kuwait. A statement
from Unicom insisted: "Tropic Brilliance has been involved in no significant incidents in the past.
"The vessel's certificates are in full compliance with all requirements.
"This tanker trades worldwide and has never been subject to delay/detention as a result of port state inspection."
Indeed, the official intergovernmental database Equasis indicates that just one deficiency has been found during the last five port