The Norwegian-flagged Hoegh Esperanza ship ran aground en route to Escobar in the shallow waters of the River Plate and needed to be towed out of its predicament so that navigation could resume.
The incident brought back recent memories of the Ever Given crisis at the Suez Canal.
The gas carrier was stranded in the Punta Indio canal, in the Codillo area from Thursday night until late Friday, when river operations were normalized.
The Hoegh Esperanza, almost 300 meters long and 46 meters wide could pose a risk to river traffic, in addition to its highly flammable cargo of methane gas.
Argentina's Prefectura Naval (Coast Guard) halted all traffic in the area, except for smaller boats.
“The key point is that it involves a dangerous cargo such as gas. This forced the Prefecture to take many precautions. The ship had a machine problem and to that was added that the river is at a very low level,” navigation authorities told Infobae.
The Norwegian ship was released with the help of several tugboats shortly before 8pm Friday but was escorted on her way to Escobar as a precaution, after checking the incident had caused no structural damage to the hull.
The Hoegh Esperanza ran aground inside the Punta Indio canal at kilometer 145 of the River Plate. Punta Indio is an artificial canal, dredged in the river bed. It has a length of about 120 km and is born south of the city of Montevideo, near the point called Pontón Recalada, a stationary lighthouse and embarkation point for the baqueanos (pilots) who lead the boats across the river towards the ports of La Plata, Buenos Aires, or those located on the banks of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.
A PN statement confirmed a tanker “294 meters in length (long), from Brazil that was heading to the port of Escobar” was stranded 32 kilometers from the Punta Indio lighthouse 90 kms from Puerto de La Plata, “for reasons that are still being investigated.”
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