CAIRO - A Panamanian ship sank in the Red Sea at the southern entrance to the Suez Canal on Thursday, but the incident did not affect shipping in the strategic waterway, port officials and sources at the canal said.
Officials at Egypt's General Authority of Red Sea Ports said the ship had been in a state of decay, and sank after its captain tried to flee the port where the vessel had been held for eight months over failure to pay fees to the Suez Canal Authority and the ports authority.
They said that tug boats from the Suez Canal Authority tried to tow the ship away from the waterway, but it took on water and sank.
Canal officials said the sinking of the ship "has so far not affected passage through the canal".
The state news agency MENA said the ship was carrying 3,000 tonnes of cargo and that all its crew members were rescued unharmed.