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On 03.04.2023, two Greek Managed tankers had a situation that amounted to what was termed as ‘’fender bending moment’’ at the Suez Canal. The Canal, which has a greater importance in driving markets in Europe and Asia risked suspension of activities due to this incident. Whereas, the incident did not interfere with the movement of the other vessels at the Canal, the occurrence served as a greater call for more steady risk management at the Suez Canal.

Lieutenant General Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, issued a statement in which he referred to the incident as a “minor friction” saying that there was no pollution. He said navigation was moving normally in the canal after the incident.

The Lyric Magnolia, a 109,999 dwt Aframax crude oil tanker managed by Orpheus Marine Transport of Greece was at anchor in Great Bitter Lake as part of a southbound convoy. The tanker registered in the Bahamas was built in 2016 and is 820 feet in length. The AIS signal shows she had departed Stigsnaes, Denmark on March 18 and was bound for Saudi Arabia.

The Aligote, a 74,000 dwt product tanker registered in the Marshall Islands was also in the lake and had begun to move from its anchorage in the waiting area when it made contact with the Lyric Magnolia. The Aligote is managed by Roxana Shipping of Greece and its AIS shows it had departed Tunisia. 

The Suez Canal Authority responded to the contact between the vessels and reported that there was no significant damage. They were retaining both vessels however for a more thorough investigation. Initial speculation centered on “an increase in the wind speed in the area.” Winds were also cited as a contributing factor in the grounding of the Ever Given in the Suez.

The authority expected that both vessels would be underway today, April 5. Their AIS signals confirm that they were permitted to proceed and cleared the southern terminus entering the Red Sea.

Last month, a record 107 vessels made the daily crossing in the Suez Canal, the highest number ever in a single day for the canal. On that day, 51 vessels were in the southbound convoy. The authority also reported a strong increase in the number of tankers making the transit. In January 2023, they reported a new monthly record for the number of tankers transiting the canal.

Our analysts at Observater Surveys and Services Limited have reviewed this incident and reasoned the causative factors of the occurrence. Whereas we found no alarming cause for concern. It was noted that while crossing channels/ Canals, the vessel crew and pilots need to remain alert at all the times to the behavior of the vessel or any nearby objects.