In its 152nd anniversary: landmarks in history of Egypt's Suez Canal



Wed, 17 Nov 2021 - 12:32 GMT


Wed, 17 Nov 2021 - 12:32 GMT

FILE – Suez Canal

FILE – Suez Canal

CAIRO – 17 November 2021: On November 17, 1869, Egypt held a huge ceremony in Port Said to mark the inauguration of the Suez Canal so as the first vessel that crossed the international waterway was the yacht of Empress Eugenie de Montijo of France, whose spouse is Napoleon III.  


The yacht was dubbed "Eagle," and was followed by those of the emperor of Austria, the prince and princess of Netherlands, and the crown prince of Prussia (now part of Germany). That is in addition to vessels owned by some of the guests and ambassadors attending the ceremony.


The ceremony lasted for several days, and consisted of entertaining, touristic, and cultural activities in the Suez Canal governorates, which are Port Said, Ismailiyah, and Suez, where a fancy dinner took place.


Khedive Ismail, ruler of Egypt at the time, gave the world leaders albums of paintings by French Painter Edouard Riou depicting scenes of the ceremony.


The Canal was at first jointly owned by Egypt and France, but due to debts, it became a French-British enterprise in 1875. Yet, after Egypt turned into a republic, Late President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal on July 26, 1956. As a result, the Tripartite Aggression was launched by Great Britain, France, and Israel in October of the same year. However, it ended the following month through U.S. mediation.


Navigation was suspended in the Canal due to the Six-Day War on June 5, 1967. Later on, Egypt waged the War of Attrition in 1969, and the 6th of October, 1973 War against the Israeli forces that were occupying Sinai Peninsula restoring 15 kilometers. On October 25 of the same year, a ceasefire had been declared before U.S.-brokered peace talks began leading up to the 1979 Peace Treaty. However, navigation in the international waterway had resumed much earlier on June 5, 1975.


Fourty years later, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated the New Suez Canal on August 6, 2015. The digging had begun a year earlier in order to introduce a parallel waterway expanding the Canal's width by almost the double. Also, dredging was carried out to make it deeper.


Chairman of Suez Canal Authority Admiral Osama Rabie highlighted in May digging parallel passages from the 132nd kilometer to the 162nd kilometer lying in the southern section of the international waterway near the Suez Gulf, and from the 122nd kilometer to the 132nd kilometer located in the Bitter Lakes. 


Those to be added to the parallel Suez Canal introduced in 2015 extending over 72 kilometers. Similarly, the authority is also enlarging the depth from 127 meters to 172 meters. Such works are expected to be over by June 23, 2023, and to contribute in increasing navigation by 28 percent. 


Furthermore, upgrade works are underway to modernize operations at the authority. Those include introducing 16 digital observation centers. One of them entered had already entered service. Also, The Suez Canal Authority had purchased three boats that mitigate the environmental impact of the ships crossing, and that entered service in May 2021.


In a similar context, the Suez Canal chairman commended the tunnels and floating bridges launched – upon the directives of the president - earlier to connect the banks of the Suez Canal together making the duration of crossing of vehicles and people only 15 minutes.


The figures released by the Suez Canal Authority Wednesday show that 1.4 million ships – carrying 24.7 billion tons of shipments – have crossed the international waterway since 1869. Those paid fees worth a total of $147.1 billion.



Leave a Comment

Be Social