Tug Sinks After Collision With LPG Carrier on Suez Canal

Chinagas Legend
Chinagas Legend (CSSC file image)

Published Aug 6, 2023 11:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, a tug sank after colliding with an LPG carrier in the Suez Canal. One of the tug's crewmembers was trapped in a cabin within the vessel and killed, and the other six were rescued, according to the Suez Canal Authority. 

The tug Fahd was in collision with the LPG carrier Chinagas Legend at kilometer 51.3, near the north end of the al-Balah Bypass, according to SCA Chairman Osama Rabie. The tug's hull was breached and it sank following the collision. The tanker was unharmed.

The body of the deceased crewmember was recovered by divers after an extended search effort, according to the SCA, and was brought to al-Balah Island to be returned to the family. The victim has been identified as chief engineer El-Sayed Ali Mohamed Mousa. 

The details of the accident were not released. Chinagas Legend was northbound at the time, based on AIS data provided by Pole Star. The vessel passed al-Balah at about 1130 GMT, making about 10 knots, and did not appear to stop or change speed until reaching exiting the canal at Port Said. 

Chinagas Legend passes the al-Balah Bypass, August 5 (AIS data courtesy Pole Star)

The last received position of the tug Fahd was in a harbor at the north end of the canal, as of the early hours of August 4. Its broadcasts were not received by commercial AIS services on the day of the collision. 

As of Sunday, five survivors have been discharged from the hospital and one remains under medical observation, according to the Suez Canal Authority. 

Salvage divers search the wreck site, August 6 (SCA)

Operations to raise the tug are already under way, and will begin in earnest after the end of the northbound convoy on Sunday, the SCA said in a social media message. A 500-tonne floating crane has been dispatched to the scene, and divers are rigging cables for hoisting the sunken vessel off the bottom. 

Chinagas Legend remains at anchor off Port Said as investigations into the circumstances of the collision continue, according to the SCA.