Suez Canal celebrates arrival of large dredger

Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) celebrated the recent arrival of a cutter suction dredger (CSD), the largest in the Middle East.

“We celebrate together CSD Mohab Mameesh, the largest in the Middle East and Africa, joining the SCA’s fleet,” Xinhua news agency SCA Chairman Osama Rabie as saying during a ceremony held in Ismailia province on Monday.

The new dredger is considered “an unprecedented addition to the authority’s dredgers fleet”, the SCA chief added.

He stressed that “it will make a quantum leap in the SCA’s capabilities in carrying out dredging works and projects inside and outside Egypt”.

The 29,190-kilowatt heavy-duty rock CSD Mohab Mameesh was made by Dutch shipbuilder Royal IHC, which is working on another dredger named Hussein Tantawy that is scheduled to be delivered to Egypt in August, according to Rabie.

With an overall length of 147.4 metres and width of 23 metres, Mohab Mameesh can dredge to a depth of 35 metres, while the Suez Canal is 24 metre deep.

In March, the massive Panama-flagged container ship Ever Given was successfully refloated after being stranded in the Suez Canal for almost a week, thanks to cooperation between the SCA and Dutch firm Boskalis with and its emergency response team SMIT Salvage.

The new dredger was named after former SCA chief Mohab Mameesh, under whose chairmanship the one-year Suez Canal expansion project was carried out and “the New Suez Canal” was inaugurated in August 2015.

Mameesh, who is currently a presidential adviser, also attended Monday’s ceremony that was held on a platform opposite to the giant blue dredger, at the massive workshop of the SCA’s dredging department.

“I am extremely happy with the arrival of CSD Mohab Mameesh,” Mameesh said, stressing that it was a necessary move to upgrade the SCA’s weary fleet of dredgers.

For his part, Mostafa Kenawy, head of the dredging department at the SCA, said that the Ever Given incident draw the attention of the SCA officials to the necessity of widening the southern part of the waterway whose soil is rocky.

Linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, the Suez Canal is a major lifeline for global seaborne trade as it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa.

The waterway was officially opened for international navigation in late 1869.