ARGUS readers have responded with humour after a cargo ship drifted into the middle of a Sussex river just a day after a stranded ship was freed from blocking a major trade route.

The 80 metre long vessel, called Elise, was moored in Littlehampton harbour at 1.15am this morning with a 2,600 tonne cargo of roadstone, but drifted into the middle of the River Arun when one of its mooring lines parted.

The cargo ship, which has now been safely returned to its berth, was stranded diagonally across the river and drew comparisons with the crisis in the Suez Canal over the past week.

The Argus: The Elise ship in the River Arun. Photo: Eddie MitchellThe Elise ship in the River Arun. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

The gigantic Ever Green ship became jammed diagonally across the canal last Tuesday, bringing maritime traffic on one of the world's most important waterways to a halt until it was freed yesterday.

Argus readers were quick to joke about the bizarre coincidence, even creating a new hashtag #sussexcrisis.

One Twitter user wrote: "Brighton folk - always looking and learning".

Another wrote: "don't think it will hinder world trade", while another penned "it’s not April Fools till Thursday..."

Littlehampton Harbour said an operation to move the Elise back to its berth began at 10.30am this morning.

A 300 metre stretch of the harbour was closed to all vessels while workboats brought the ship in, causing delays up to three hours for a small number of fishing and leisure boats.

A spokesman for Littlehampton Harbour said: "After much preparation, the operation to move Elise back to her berth was commenced at 10.30am when she began to float again on the rising tide and was concluded by 1.45pm.

The Argus: The Elise was safely brought back to its berth this afternoonThe Elise was safely brought back to its berth this afternoon

"During this period, a limited 300 metre long section of the harbour where these ships discharge, between the Red Footbridge and Littlehampton Marina, had to be closed to all craft to ensure safety of other harbour users.

"Two small commercial fishing vessels were delayed by approximately two hours in their return to their moorings with their day’s catch, and a small number of leisure vessels moored at Littlehampton Marina or further up the River Arun were also delayed in their day’s trip out to sea by up to 3 hours.

"I would like to thank all those who were delayed in their use of this part of the harbour for their cooperation as well as all those involved in the operation to move the vessel back to berth."