Stranded container ship blocks Suez Canal

A huge container ship is blocking traffic through Egypt's Suez Canal after running aground there.

The Suez Canal Authority says the Panamanian-registered ship got stranded on its way from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean on Tuesday morning. It says other vessels are unable to navigate.

A photo shows the ship's bow stuck on an embankment of the canal. The vessel's cargo does not appear to have collapsed.

The authority is working to change the ship's direction using tugboats, to allow other vessels to pass through the canal.

Japan's transport ministry and other sources say the ship is owned by Shoei Kisen in Ehime Prefecture and operated by a firm in Taiwan. The vessel is said to be one of the world's largest container ships, measuring 400 meters long and with a gross tonnage of about 220,000.

At the time of the accident, visibility was reportedly poor due to a sandstorm in the area. The Egyptian authority blames bad weather for the accident.

It is not yet known when traffic there will return to normal.

The Suez Canal is a key corridor for maritime traffic where at least 18,000 ships navigate annually.