The Waterway is Still Undergoing Developmental Projects at All Levels… Increasing the SCA’s Existing Maritime Salvage Capacity
With regard to some issues that have been reported in the local and international media while covering the incident of the grounding Panamanian container ship “EVER GIVEN”, His Excellency Adm. Osama Rabie, Chairman and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), would like to clarify some key facts about this unprecedented incident in the history of the Suez Canal.
Adm. Rabie stressed the fact that the SCA spared no effort to ensure that traffic through the Canal is back to normal as the grounding Panamanian ship incident was dealt with professionally and by means of the Authority’s own capabilities. Two dredgers from the SCA’s fleet of dredgers were utilized; “Mashhour” and “Tenth of Ramadan”, in addition to 15 SCA tugboats and nearly 600 SCA workers from various departments who proved to be more than capable of dealing with the incident professionally.
His Excellency emphasized that this incident presented to the world a unique model of crisis management by the SCA which utilized dredging, for the first time in maritime salvage operations, which is rather an unconventional solution given what it entails in terms of high precision and following the highest safety standards.
In addition to that, His Excellency also confirmed that any talk of maritime safety in the Suez Canal is not to be questioned nor it is subject for controversy as the SCA has taken preemptive measures in that regard since 2015. That is when President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated the New Suez Canal project which aimed to increasing the accommodation and the numerical capacity of the Canal allowing it to accommodate vessels of very large drafts; especially large containerships. This project also had a significant impact on achieving the highest levels of maritime safety by means of increasing the doubled areas along the waterway allowing for a better handling of possible emergencies in the Canal.
Adm. Rabie added that projects of developing the Canal’s waterway did not stop at the New Suez Canal, but efforts are ongoing according to a comprehensive strategy and simultaneous steps are being taken in that regard. The SCA is currently establishing a number of vast waiting areas on the New Suez Canal in addition to deepening and maintaining the ones existing on the original Canal to increase the waterway’s ability to deal with any possible emergency.
His Excellency said also “our efforts also include developing 16 traffic monitoring stations along the waterway, and providing water ambulance services as well as various salvage services. That is in addition to developing the traffic monitoring centers in the Canal cities, and modernizing our fleet of maritime units which includes dredgers, tugboats and speedboats.”
The Chairman also highlighted that in the coming period, the SCA aims to enhance its maritime salvage capabilities through a number of new large tugboats of high bollard pull capacity to keep abreast of developments in the fields of maritime salvage and shipbuilding worldwide.
His Excellency addressed the international shipping society assuring everyone that traffic through the Suez Canal is back to normal and the EVER GIVEN incident is an incidental event that the SCA dealt with as per the requirements of crisis management and successfully got past it in record time without having to resort to options that might have taken too long or caused damage to the ship’s hull and the cargo onboard.
Adm. Rabie concluded by saying that traffic in the Canal is secured by the Egyptian armed forces on land, at sea and from the air, as well as police Canal security forces, praising their invaluable role in safekeeping world trade going through the Canal and the main SCA facilities. The Suez Canal is Safe and will continue to be an artery of life for world trade. It shall remain the shortest and most secure maritime route by the non-stop work of its workers.