Officials confirmed the MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged container ship that carries trade between Asia and Europe, became grounded on Tuesday.
Graphic images from the website Vessel Finder showed tug boats were deployed to help the 400m-long (1,312 ft) and 59m-wide ship.
However, there are concerns in may remain stuck for several days, causing disruption to a global shipping system already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.
Evergreen Marine Corp., the Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship, told the Associated Press that it had been “overcome by strong winds as it entered the Suez Canal from the Red Sea” but none of its containers had sunk.
“All crew are safe and accounted for,” said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given. “There have been no reports of injuries or pollution.”
Satellite images show the extraordinary site of the ship blocking a narrow stretch of the waterway, the shortest sea link between Europe and Asia, just north of the port of Suez.
An image shared on Instagram appeared to showed the ship wedged across the canal.
Dr Sal Mercogliano, a maritime historian based in the US, told the BBC that the incident could have “huge ramifications for global trade”.
He added: “This is the largest vessel ever to go aground in the Suez Canal. If they are unable to pull her free… in a high tide, they are going to have to start removing cargo.”
GAC, a global shipping and logistics company, said the Ever Given had suffered “a blackout while transiting in a northerly direction”.
The ship, built in 2018, was bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands before getting trapped. It is one of the largest cargo ships in the world and can carry up to 20,000 containers.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.