Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egyptian President, approved the widening and deepening of the southern part of the Suez Canal, after the 20,000 TEU container ship Ever Given paralyzed one of the most important channels in international maritime trade, directly affecting the global economy.
Measuring 400 meters long and nearly 60 meters wide, this giant ship was wedged in this vital shipping lane for six days this March, blocking all shipping traffic.
To refloat the 224,000-ton container ship, some 30,000 cubic meters of sand were dredged to help free the vessel and a total of eleven harbor tugs and two powerful offshore tugs (Alp Guard and Carlo Magna) were deployed.
Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said that this new project “will improve the ability of the guide (SCA) and the master of any ship to navigate within the canal.”
The plan includes widening the southernmost section of the canal by about 40 meters (yards) eastward on the Sinai Peninsula side. That section would also be deepened to 72 feet, from the current depth of 66 feet. This part of the canal is 20 miles (30 kilometers) long.
The project has a duration of 24 months.