An oil tanker broke down in the Suez Canal on Sunday, disrupting traffic in the vital global waterway. 

The Malta-flagged Seavigour suffered a malfunction at the 12 km (7.5 mile) mark, said George Safwat, a spokesperson for Egypt‘s Suez Canal Authority.

It stopped in a single-lane section and was towed away by tugs to a double-lane stretch at the 17km (10.5 mile) mark.

The breakdown disrupted eight other ships behind the Seavigour – which measures 274m (899ft) long and 48.63m (159ft) wide.

It is the latest ship to cause disruption in recent years after breaking down or running aground.

In March 2021, container ship the Ever Given crashed into a bank on a single-lane stretch, blocking the canal for six days and causing huge delays in global trade.

A Liberia-flagged ship also ran aground in March this year but was refloated a few hours later.

On May 25, a Hong Kong-flagged ship also briefly blocked the canal before being refloated.

The canal opened in 1869 and is a crucial trading route for oil, natural gas and cargo. Around 10% of world trade flows through it.

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Some 23,851 vessels passed through the waterway last year, compared with 20,649 in 2021.

Revenue earned from the canal reached a record $8bn (£6.4bn) last year.

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