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Suez Canal tugboat sinks after collision with tanker

CAIRO, Aug 5 (Reuters) – A Suez Canal tugboat sank on Saturday and one of its crew was missing after it collided with a Hong Kong-flagged LPG tanker though shipping traffic in the strategically important waterway was largely unaffected, the canal authority said.

Convoys of ships passing through the canal from the north were not affected, while the passage of ships travelling from the south returned to normal by about midnight on Saturday, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement.

The tanker, Chinagas Legend, is waiting in Port Said until the completion of procedures related to the accident, (SCA) head Osama Rabie said in an earlier statement.

Two canal sources said Chinagas Legend was undamaged by the collision, was functioning normally and had anchored at Port Said.

Rabie told local TV that one of the tugboat crew had died. The dead crew member, Sayed Moussa, was a mechanic from Port Said, his family said.

Six other crew members were rescued and taken to hospital. Efforts were under way to recover the tugboat, with buoys marking its position and allowing ships to pass in the meantime, the SCA said.

The tanker, which was heading south on its journey from Singapore to the U.S., is 230 metres (755 feet) long and 36 metres (118 feet) wide, and carries a cargo of 52,000 metric tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

The Suez Canal is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. The SCA is working on an expansion of southern sections of the canal after a giant container ship, the Ever Given, got stuck there in 2021, blocking traffic for six days.

Reporting by Yousri Mohammed; Writing by Hatem Maher, Angus McDowall and Aidan Lewis; Editing by Angus MacSwan, David Holmes, Toby Chopra and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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