Flashback in maritime history: Suez Canal opened to shipping 17 November 1869


(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) The Suez Canal opened to shipping on 17 November 1869.

Excavation of the Canal had taken ten years, using forced labor and rudimentary mechanical equipment.

Construction had been opposed by British interests, who feared competition in trade with India. Once the Canal opened and proved successful, British interests acquired a majority ownership.

The Canal was closed to shipping during the Suez Crises of 1956-57 and during the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1967 and 1973. In 2008, over 21,000 ships transited the Canal, earning the Government of Egypt over $5 billion in tolls.

On August 6, 2015, a second lane to the Canal has been completed and placed into service.



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  1. I started my seagoing career in 1968 but the Suez was closed due to the War so trips on the Tankers from far East to Europe were quite long. I first went through the canal in 1977 but the scars of war were evident at the entrance from the Red Sea and also the semi destroyed army vehicles in the visible desert areas. Very sad sight.