Head of the Suez Canal Authority, Admiral Osama Rabie, stated that the Suez Canal has become a lifeline for Egypt and countries in different parts of the world. He further added that the due credit is given to Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French diplomat who was the mind behind the 19th century the waterway that was dug for over a decade between 1859-1869.
Rabie stated that it was because of the Egyptian people that the waterway is functioning even today. He further added that the 164-kilometer-long excavation process was nothing short of a miracle that came to life within a span of 10 years.
He also said that approximately a million Egyptian citizens took part in the excavations and between 100,000-120,000 people lost their lives. However, according to the reports of the experts, the total number of casualties was poorly documented.
Rabie said that the canal is secure under the stationed Egyptian armed forces and added that the ongoing altercations between the Egyptian forces and the Islamic militants in North Sanai have not affected the daily functioning of the canal.
The Suez Canal is 150 years old and the international waterway has proved to be very crucial to the economic status of Egypt, which nationalized it in the year 1956. The canal was inaugurated in 1869, linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and witnessed expansion in 2015 to accommodate bigger ships. The transit time in today's time has been cut down to 11 hours from 22 hours and the traffic of vessels crossing on a daily basis increased from an average of 40-45 to 60-65 giant tankers.
In 2015, the citizens of Egypt supported their President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's plan of expanding the Suez Canal, which saw Abdel buy investment certificates worth 64 billion Egyptian pounds within a span of 8 days.
With the expansion of the project, oil tankers carrying more than 20,000 tonnes of their consignment can pass through the canal and the maximum traffic of the canal can be attributed to container ships reaching a capacity of 23,000 TEU(twenty-foot equivalent unit).
(With inputs from agencies)