PHOTOS: LNG carrier collides with product tanker in Suez Canal

A Singapore-flagged LNG carrier BW Lesmes collided with an oil product tanker Burri while transiting the Suez Canal en route from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea on Tuesday evening, August 22.

Image credit Suez Canal Authority

The LNG carrier, controlled by BW LNG, reportedly ran aground at about 22 hours local time while underway in the southbound convoy causing the tanker behind it to run into it.

The Suez Canal Authority confirmed earlier this morning that a minor collision occurred between the two vessels following a sudden stop by BW Lesmes at the 144th kilometer of the channel. The LNG carrier experienced a technical failure, causing the vessel to lose steering ability and run aground.

“‘BW Lesmes’ (IMO 9873840) reported that the vessel ran aground whilst transiting southbound through the Suez Canal at approximately 21:35 LT on 22 August 2023,” BW LNG AS, operators of the LNG carrier, said in a statement sent to Offshore Energy.

“All crew members are safe and accounted for and there were no injuries or any reports of pollution. Following the incident, the master of the BW Lesmes immediately initiated all onboard safety protocols and quickly notified the relevant authorities.”

The LNG carrier was not loaded with cargo at the time of the incident, according to SCA. The Cayman Islands-flagged product tanker behind it in the convoy was unable to stop in time due to strong water current and ran into the grounded LNG carrier.

“Following the grounding, another vessel subsequently allided with the BW Lesmes. The allision occurred at a low speed and the vessel’s operational capabilities have not been affected. Initial observations from the crew onboard have reported the vessel remains structurally sound,” statement from BW LNG AS further reads.

Four tugs from the Suez Canal Authority were sent to the scene to assist the two vessels. The product tanker Burri also experienced a malfunction and needed assistance from the tugs to carry out necessary repairs and resume navigation.

View on Twitter.

The LNG carrier BW Lesmes was refloated in the early hours of Wednesday and is said to be under tow on its way to exit the canal and will wait at Suez’s outer anchorage for further inspection. The product tanker Burri, managed by TMS Tankers, is underway outside the canal, the canal authority informed.

View on Twitter.

“In conjunction with the local authorities, crew onboard BW Lesmes successfully re-floated the vessel at 03:30 LT on 23 August 2023,” the company added.

“The BW Lesmes is now under pilotage and proceeding to Suez anchorage for further inspections. The BW LNG AS technical team from Oslo will arrive this afternoon to commence investigations. The safety of BW Lesmes and all onboard remains our highest priority.”

The head of the canal authority Lieutenant-General Osama Rabie said that the canal authority immediately dealt with the situation and that navigation was restored in both directions within two hours.

“The first 8 vessels in front were not affected, but 22 vessels in the southbound convoy behind stopped ship are resuming canal transit,” GAC said in an update.

“Ships in yesterday’s northbound convoy were not affected by this stoppage and have already exited the Canal.”

As informed, there has been no significant damage on either vessel or pollution reported by the Suez Canal Authority.

The Suez Canal is said to be clear for navigation and awaiting SCA advice on the 23 August convoys’ navigation arrangement and timings.