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Welcome to Seabird Marine Services, Suez ship chandler and Suez Canal transit agent.
Seabird Marine Services was established in the year of 1981 at Port of Suez as Ship chandler, General ship supplier
and Suez Canal transit ship agent, serving vessels calling Suez, Egyptian Ports or transiting Suez Canal.


From the beginning we were known for, honesty and reliability which built our high reputation and expanded client's network world wide and created high growth situation.

Today Seabird Marine Services has branches in every Egyptian port with dedicated professional team and a large warehouse in a tax free area, gathering most of the items requested by vessels calling Egypt. This enables us to fulfill the
balance of the equation" high quality @ reasonable prices @ the right time".

Continuous growth and advanced management
allowed SeaBird Marine Services to become one of
the market leaders In Suez Canal area and
all Egyptian Ports in both fields of Ship chandler &
Suez Canal Transit agency

"Seabird Marine Services" today is one stop services station

Where you can have peace of mind and obtain all these services in one contact:
* General Ship Supply
* Life rafts & Safety Equipment supply and services with   class certification
* All repair works with qualified certified technicians
* All Spare Parts supplies
* Underwater works (Inspection, Repair & Cleaning)
* Spare Parts parcels custom clearance &
  Delivery on board
* Shipping Agency & Suez Canal Transit Services

 

Suez Canal
SeaBird-Marine is on the spot in the Suez Canal as the reliable intermediary for transit co-ordination, funds transfer and efficient communication. With local offices in Port Said and Suez Port, SeaBird-Marine is positioned to ensure a smooth and prompt transit.

Egypt : Profile

Facts

  • Most yachts visit Egypt only to transit the Suez Canal and very few visit the country itself.
  • The only area of the country worth cruising is in the Red Sea, the reefs and bays stretching from the Sudanese border to the Gulf of Suez. Day sailing along this coast is the most pleasant way to make progress against the prevailing northerlies.
  • Safaga or Hurgada, on the Red Sea, are both places where the boat can be left to visit the interior; although at neither should the boat be left unattended.
  • In recent years the Red Sea coast has seen a rapid growth in tourist resorts and developments including several new marinas such as the Abu Tig and Port Ghalib Marinas, which form part of large resorts.
  • In the Mediterranean, Alexandria is the only alternative to Port Said.
  • Occasionally yachts manage to obtain a permit to sail up the River Nile, a fascinating but not easy way to see Egypt
  • Terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists against foreign visitors have badly affected tourism, and while this situation continues, the internal situation should be monitored carefully.

Weather

Very hot summers; mild winters with little rain. The prevailing winds in the Red Sea are northerly, while along the Mediterranean coast there are daily alternating land and sea breezes. Occasionally the khamsin, a hot dry wind, blows off the land laden with dust and sand reducing visibility.
 

Port Said : Shore Services

Provisions

Provisioning is somewhat better in Port Said, which is a duty-free port and stores can be ordered and delivered to the yacht club. There is a daily fresh produce market.

Company Profile

SeaBird was established as Navigation & Communication Systems private limited Company in Egypt in 1981.
Our quality targets aim at providing our customers with high quality service in a quick, efficient, and accurate manner and clear communication with our customers and efficient follow-up on projects, in order to facilitate their timely completion.
Our company provides system integration and related services to the following market sectors:
Aids to navigation
Vessel management and surveillance.
Remote site monitoring.
Shipboard electronic navigational equipment.
Automatic vehicle location and dispatch.
High speed voice and data communications.
GSM network installation

Our design is due to the most updated international standardizations using highly qualified designer engineers to ensure the best design possible for customer satisfaction.
SeaBird will use only the best available navigation and communication equipment from selected suppliers and good maintenance techniques. We maintain appropriate testing of our service, during the installation and maintenance processes until the end of each process.
SeaBird guarantees warranty of the project that has been supplied and installed by the company to ensure customer satisfaction.
Project quality is facilitated by a quality system, consistent with ISO-9001: 1994, which results amongst other things, in personnel having the required experience in appropriate administrative procedures.
The quality of our service is of the utmost importance to the continuity of our business. Consequently we expect all our employees to contribute to maintain and if possible to improve, our quality levels

Services
"We provide our clients with technology solutions and services
which exceed their expectations"
Two strategic areas of professional services.
Distinct, complementary, and in line with the direction of the marketplace

Services offered:
Systems Integration
Long Term Support and Maintenance Services
Project Management
Major Activities:
Project Management
Systems Engineering
Equipment Specifications
Equipment Procurement
Documentation
Translation
Installation
Testing
Training
Customer and Warranty Support
Life Cycle Management and Maintenance.


New announcement…
We would like to inform you about our
New services as following :
1- Charge and discharge of all dry bulk (corn, wheat,
soya bean, sugar, fertilizers, etc......)
2- Bagging of all kinds of dry bulk using our mobile bagging machines.
3- Charging and discharging clinker and cement
using our equipment.
4- Transportation using our trucks.
5- we have 100,000 sq meters in Dekhela port,
suitable for warehousing general cargo and
containers (We will be ready for RoRo containers
in about 3 month time as we do not have any
container fork lift or reach stacker yet).

Providing our Customers with
Suez Canal Transit List


Egypt Ship Supplier Ship Chandlers Port Said Suez Ship Chandler Supplier Vessel Catering Suez Canal Agent freight forwarder in Egypt

Issa Ship Supply

 
- - -

Watch Movie about Port Said Click Her


 

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View online or right click and select "Save target as..." to download the file.
Download Our Suez Canal Transit Guide
Advice to Shipmasters
Southbound Transits 
Northbound Transits
 
Download  Rules Of Navigation in Suez Canal (PDF)

 

Specialized Ports
Egypt has passed law no 1 for 1996 concerning Specialized ports followed by the minister of transport resolution no 81 for 1999 relating to lagging down an executive regulation for specialized ports law Specialized ports mean these establishments on the Egyptian coasts or in the Egyptian EEZ built for the purpose of receiving. Fishing vessels, oil tarkers, minerals or tourist yachts. Specialized ports also refer to these ports of a specific nature, or specialized maritime platforms and berths inside the general ports
ln addition to 16 berths and scaffolds under the supervision of the central depart ent for Specialized ports ( under construction)
The Number of Specialized Ports ( 45 ) as follows
14 Petroleum Ports - 9 Mining Ports - 11 Toristic Ports - 8 Fishing Ports - 3 Scaffold
Petroleum Ports
Mining Ports
Toristic Ports
Fishing Ports
Port Map
Gabal El Zeit
El Zeit East
El Hamra(El Allamin)
Mersa Badran
Edco For Liquefied Gas
Ras Shukheir
Sidi Kerir(Sumid)
Wadi Feiran(Abu Redeis-El Nazazat)
Ras Sidr
Sadat
Ain Sukhna(Sumid)
Ras Gharib
El Maadiya(Petroget)
El Zaytyat
Port Map
Abu Zenimah
Bernees
Abu Ghosoun
Al Qusayr
Hamrawein
Safaga Mining Port(El Masriyeen)
Safaga Mining Port(Abu Tartour)
El Rasif El Bahari(Ras Hagariya)
Rasif El Sharkiyoun(Mackdirmout)
Port Map
Hurghada
Taba Heights
Port Ghalib
Port Map
Project Overview
Port Description
Navigational Characterestics
Port's Services and Facilities
Fees
Owning Company
Dome Valley Marina
El Gonah
Marina Port(El Alamein)
San Stefano
Port Said Tourist Port
Mersa Alam
Abu Suma
Sahl Hashish
Port Map
Attaka Fishing Port
Port Said Fishing Port
El Maadiya Fishing Port
(El Maadiya Strait)
EL Tour
New EL Brols
Mersa Matrouh
Arish port
Abu Kir Fishing Port

Scaffold
Shark Bay Scaffold
Trafco Marina
Neama Bay Scaffold
 

 

SeaBird Marine Services,catering services,Repairer, Vessel Catering, Shipchandlers, suez ship chandler, Suez canal ship chandler, Vessel Catering, Owner Representatives
marine services, Suez Canal transit agent, general ship supplier, marine services, suez ship supplier, shipchandler, SeaBird, suez marine services, transit agent, Owner Representatives, shipping company, suez canal agencyShipping Agency / Owner Representatives / Suez Canal Transit Shipping Agency /Shipping Liner Representatives
Ship Suppliers / Ship Chandler /
Vessel Catering Services & Repairer
Petroleum Services / Offshore Supplying / Technical Assistance /Freight Forwarder Agents (From/To, Egypt)

Reliable Ship Supplier Allover Egyptians And freight forwarder allover the world ,ALL CREDIT FACILITIES AVAILABLE,Height quality, Low prices, Best discount, Fast services

Suez Canal Transit Dues as of 1/3/2012 new Suez Canal Tariff

About The Suez Canal Site Map

The Suez Canal
 
( Arabic: Qanat as-Suways ),is an artificial sea-level waterway running north-south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. The canal separates the African continent from Asia, and it provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is one of the world's most heavily used shipping lanes.

The Suez Canal is one of the most important waterways in the world.

The canal is extensively used by modern ships, as it is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean . Tolls paid by the vessels represent an important source of income for the Egyptian government.

Railroad and a sweet water canal are run on the west bank parallel to the Suez Canal .

The Canal runs between Port Said harbor and the Gulf of Suez , through soils which vary according to the region. At Port Said and the surrounding area, the soil is composed over thousands of years of silt and clay sedimentations deposited by the Nile waters drifted by Damietta branch. This formation extends to Kantara, 40 km to the south of Port Said , where silt mixes with sand. The central region of the Canal between Kantara and Kabret consists of fine and coarse sands, while the southern region contains dispersed layers of rocks, varying in texture from soft sand to some calcium rocks.

The Suez Canal is a sea level Canal and the height of water level differs slightly and the tide is 50 cm high in the north and 2 m high in the south. The banks of the Canal are protected against the wash and waves, generated by the transit of ships, by revetments of hard stones and steel piles corresponding to the nature of soil in every area. On both sides of the Canal, there are mooring bollards every 125 m for the mooring of vessel in case of emergency, and kilometric sign posts helping locate the position of ships in the waterway. The navigable channel is bordered by light and reflecting buoys as navigational aids to night traffic.

The side gradient of the water cross section differs according to the nature of the soil, which is 4:1 in the north and 3:1 in the south.

Most of the canal is limited to a single lane of traffic, but 4 bypasses ( total length 78 Km ) are located along the Canal, and this allows the transit of ships in both directions. :

1. Port Said by-pass 36.5 km accomplished in 1980  
2. Ballah by-pass 9.0 km accomplished in 1955
3. Timsah by-pass 5.0 km accomplished in 1980
4. Deversoir by-pass and the Bitter Lakes area 27.5 km accomplished in 1890

Importance & Advantage of SC

 
The Suez Canal is considered to be the shortest link between the east and the west due to its unique geographic location; it is an important international navigation canal linking between the Mediterranean sea at Port said and the red sea at Suez . The unique geographical position of the Suez Canal makes it of special importance to the world and to Egypt as well.


This importance is getting augmented with the evolution of maritime transport and world trade. The maritime transport is the cheapest means of transport, whereas more than 80 % of the world trade volume is transported via waterways (seaborne trade).


Saving in distance, time and in operating costs for vessels that transit the Canal, also firm up this importance.

Saving in distance via SC

 
The geographical position of the Suez Canal makes it the shortest route between East and West as compared with the Cape of Good Hope. The Canal route achieves saving in distance between the ports north and south of the Canal, the matter that is translated into other saving in time, fuel consumption and ship operating costs as shown in the table below :

About 10 % of the world seaborne trade passed through the Suez Canal in 2014.

From To Distance ( Nautical Miles ) Saving
SC Cape Miles %
Ras Tanura Constanza 4 144 12 094 7 950 66
Lavera 4 684 10 783 6 099 57
Rotterdam 6 436 11 169 4 733 42
New York 8 281 11 794 3 513 30
Jeddah Piraeus 1 320 11 207 9 887 88
Rotterdam 6 337 10 743 4 406 41
Tokyo Rotterdam 11 192 14 507 3 315 23
Singapore Rotterdam 8 288 11 755 3 647 29

 





Vision & Mission

Suez Canal Mission

  • To ascertain that the vital role of the Suez Canal in service of the world economy and trade is established.
  • To manage and run the Suez Canal in a way that maximizes its capabilities and position.
  • To upgrade c performance of the Suez Canal to cope with the requirements and challenges of the present and future time as well as the international changes.

Suez Canal objectives

  • To draw up plans for the Suez Canal .
  • To develop and promote the navigable channel.
  • To secure safety, security and relevant services for the transiting vessels.

Suez Canal Duties

  • To draw up and execute plans that secure optimized transits for vessels.
  • To develop and maintain the Canal to be able to handle the evolution of the world trade and the growth of the World Fleet.
  • To provide the transiting vessels with services, towage and repairs.
  • To build ships and different marine units at the SCA’s shipyards.
  • To draw up plans and policies for the companies affiliated to the SCA.

Canal Nature

 
The Canal runs between Port Said harbor and the Gulf of Suez , through soils which vary according to the region. At Port Said and the surrounding area, the soil is composed over thousands of years of silt and clay sedimentations deposited by the Nile waters drifted by Damietta branch. This formation extends to Kantara, 40 km to the south of Port Said , where silt mixes with sand. The central region of the Canal between Kantara and Kabret consists of fine and coarse sands, while the southern region contains dispersed layers of rocks, varying in texture from soft sand to some calcium rocks.


The Suez Canal is a sea level Canal and the height of water level differs slightly and the tide is 50 cm high in the north and 2 m high in the south. The banks of the Canal are protected against the wash and waves, generated by the transit of ships, by revetments of hard stones and steel piles corresponding to the nature of soil in every area. On both sides of the Canal, there are mooring bollards every 125 m for the mooring of vessel in case of emergency, and kilometric sign posts helping locate the position of ships in the waterway. The navigable channel is bordered by light and reflecting buoys as navigational aids to night traffic.


The side gradient of the water cross section differs according to the nature of the soil, which is 4:1 in the north and 3:1 in the south.

The Suez Canal has been doubled in four parts (78 Km.), and this allows the transit of ships in both directions. :

1. Port Said by-pass 36.5 km accomplished in 1980  
2. Ballah by-pass 9.0 km accomplished in 1955
3. Timsah by-pass 5.0 km accomplished in 1980
4. Deversoir by-pass and the Bitter Lakes area 27.5 km accomplished in 1890

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SUEZ CANAL :

Item Unit 1869 1956 1962 1980 1994 1996 2001 till now
Overall Length Km 164 175 175 190.25 190.25 190.25 190.25
Doubled Parts Km -- 29 29 78 78 78 78
Width at 11 m depth m 44 60 90 160 180/210 180/210 200/210
Water depth m 10 14 15.5 19.5 20.5 21 22.5
Max. Draft of ship Feet 22 35 38 53 56 58 62
Cross Sectional Area m2 304 1100 1800 3600 3800/4300 3900/4500 4800
Max. Loaded ship DWT 5000 30000 80000 150000 180000 185000 220000

INFLUENCE OF THE SUEZ CANAL ON WORLD TRADE :

The geographical position of the Suez Canal makes it the shortest route between East and West as compared with the Cape of Good Hope. The Canal route achieves saving in distance between the ports north and south of the Canal, the matter that is translated into other saving in time, fuel consumption and ship operating costs as shown in the table below : About 8.5% of the world seaborne trade passed through the Suez Canal in 2006.

 

Historical outline
The Suez Canal is considered to be the shortest link between the east and the west due to its unique geographic location; it is an important international navigation canal linking between the Mediterranean sea at Port said and the red sea at Suez. The idea of linking the Mediterranean sea with the red sea by a canal dates back to 40 centuries as it was pointed out through history starting by the pharaohs era passing by the Islamic era until it was dredged reaching its current condition today. Logo of Suez Canal
It is considered to be the first artificial canal to be used in Travel and Trade. The Whole Idea of establishing a canal linking between the red sea and the Mediterranean dates back to the oldest times, as Egypt dredged the firs artificial canal on the planet’s surface. The pharaohs dredged a canal link in between river Nile and the red sea. This canal ran a while and then stopped until Muslims conquered Egypt under the leader ship of Amr-Ebn-El-Aas complying with the orders of Omar Ebn El Khattab. When the Portuguese discovered Ras El Raga El Saleh at the beginning of the 16th century the world trade movement changed making Egypt and Alexandria not considered the heart of it anymore.
After that it was Francis Delicips the one with the idea of re-dredging the Canal in (25 April, 1859) and was formally opened during the ruling of El Khedive Ismael (17 November, 1869) in a major celebration which was attended by most of Europe’s kings and Princes and the license period was 99 years from the date of opening of the canal and then it becomes after that a property of the Egyptian Government, and the French owned most of its stock. Delicips
After July 1952 Revolution, president Gamal Abd El Naser publicized the canal in announcement in (26 July, 1956) making the management of the canal a 100% Egyptian, which enraged the major countries leading to the Triad assault on Egypt in (29 October, 1956) which caused to the closing of the canal and it was reopened in (march 1957) and after that it was closed again ( 1976) due to the ships laying in the bottom of the canal and was not reopened again until (June 1975). president Gamal Abd El Naser
Stages of developing the Suez Canal
Suez Canal Building The dredging of the canal took almost 10 years using Egyptian labor, and it was opened for navigation for the first time in 17 November, 1869. Its depth was about 8 meters, its water are was 304 m2 and the largest ship load that can pass through was 5000 tons, which was typical for ships sizes in these days. As the ships developed and increased its sizes, the canal needed to be developed, which happened when it was still a foreign joint venture before being publicized to take ships with depth of 35 feet and its water area to be 1100 m2 by the end of 1956 and when the canal was publicized by the Egyptian government on the 26th of July, 1956. The Egyptian administration was keen to develop the
Navigation canal even more on different stages
In May 1962, the water area of the canal was to reach 1800 m2 and the allowed depth to 38 feet. In June 1966, a development was to be executed on 2 stages as it was announced the depth would reach 48 and 58 feet consecutively. This program was started in February 1962, but was soon halted due to the war that erupted on the 5th of June, 1967. It was reopened for international; navigation in June 1975 after purifying it from the ships that sank in its bottom during in the 1962 and 1973 wars with the same water area and depth before it was closed. The development projects then started by the Egyptian administration in order to receive ships of a 210,000 tons load, specially after increasing the water are to 4800 m2 and a depth of 62 feet , with a length of 190.25 km, in addition to the redesign of the canal's turns so that each one has a half radius of at least 5000 m and also dredging a new verge starting from the 17th km south of port said heading directly to the Mediterranean east of port Fouad to allow the loaded ships going north to go to the sea without passing through port said port. The Suez canal is distinguished by its stable level of water which varies very slightly having the highs tide reaching 50 cm in the north while reaching up to 2 m in the south.
Vice Admiral/Ahmed Fadel has assured head of the Suez Canal port authority, the depth will reach 66 feet by 2006 pointing out that this stage will enable all container vessels; about 17,000 container vessels; as well as taking all bulk vessels world wide. His Excellency also pointed that the Canal will be able to take in about 99 % of all methods used in world maritime transport after reaching a depth of 72 feet in 2012, as well as taking about 99% of he dead weight tons for the bulk vessels 82% of the petroleum tanks and a 100% of all the remaining types of ships used in maritime transport; specially container vessels with all its future generations; in addition to empty vessels reaching up to 560 thousand tons. Admiral/Ahmed Fadel

Current state for year 2006 - 2005 - 2006
The position of the Suez Canal for year 2006
Total number of vessels calling at Suez Canal 18664 ship
Net Tonnage 742.7 million Ton
Container Vessels 6974 ship
Net Tonnage of Container Vessels 366549 Thousand Ton
Cargo volume from North to South 252215 Thousand Ton
Cargo volume from South to North 376420 Thousand Ton
Total cargo volume 628.6 million Ton
Containerized cargo from North to South 126082 Thousand Ton
Containerized cargo from South to North 150817 Thousand Ton
Total of Containerized cargo 276899 Thousand Ton

The position of the Suez Canal for year 2005
Total number of vessels calling at Suez Canal 18193 ship
Net Tonnage 671782 Thousand Ton
Container Vessels 6557 ship
Net Tonnage of Container Vessels 321302 Thousand Ton
Cargo volume from North to South 244836 Thousand Ton
Cargo volume from South to North 326269 Thousand Ton
Total cargo volume 571105 Thousand Ton
Containerized cargo from North to South 119006 Thousand Ton
Containerized cargo from South to North 128130 Thousand Ton
Total of Containerized cargo 247136 Thousand Ton

The position of the Suez Canal for year 2004
Total number of vessels calling at Suez Canal 16850 ship
Net Tonnage 621230 Thousand Ton
Container Vessels 5928 ship
Net Tonnage of Container Vessels 284307 Thousand Ton
Cargo volume from North to South 211563 Thousand Ton
Cargo volume from South to North 309427 Thousand Ton
Total cargo volume 520990 Thousand Ton
Containerized cargo from North to South 108341 Thousand Ton
Containerized cargo from South to North 112038 Thousand Ton
Total of Containerized cargo 220379 Thousand Ton
Number of passing containers (approximately) More than 15 Million TEU

Totals of Suez Canal

  2001 1981 2003 2004 2005 2006
Total Crossing Vessels (Vessel) 13986 13447 15667 16850 18193 18664
  -3.9% 16.5% 7.6% 8.0% 2.6%
Net Tonnage (million tons) 456.1 444.8 549.4 621.2 671.8 742.7
Number of Containers (Vesel) 4700 4549 5209 5928 6557 6974
Total Cargo Volume (million tons) 372.4 368.8 457.9 521 571.1 628.6
  -1.0% 24.2% 13.8% 9.6% 10.1

Traffic of Vessels Crossing Suez Canal

Traffic of Vessels Crossing Suez Canal

Net Tonnage of Vessels Crossing Suez Canal

Pure Tonnage of Vessels Crossing Suez Canal

Number of Containers Crossing Suez Canal

Number of Containers Crossing Suez Canal

Total Cargo Crossing Suez Canal

Total Cargo Crossing Suez Canal


 

Traffic System

The Canal is run in a convoy system allowing ships to transit as fixed speed and a fixed separation distance between every two passing ships, Three convoy pass through the Canal every day, two southbound against one northbound. Each of the three convoys follows a certain system as for the time of entering the Canal, the speed limits and the emergency stopping distance between every two ships within the one convoy.

The Suez Canal has been doubled in four parts (78 Km.), and this allows the transit of ships in both directions:

  1. Port Said by-pass 36.5 km. accomplished in 1980
  2. Ballah by-pass 9 km. accomplished in 1955
  3. Timsah by-pass 5 km. accomplished in 1980
  4. Deversoir by-pass 27.5 km. accomplished in 1980

It is worth mentioning that the more doubled parts the Canal has, the less transit time ships shall have and the more their number will be.

The Suez Canal pilots are credited with piloting ships from the time they arrive at the roadsteads till they exit at the other end of the Canal to the open sea.

It takes the ship from 12 to 16 hours to transit the Canal. The numerical capacity of the Canal is about 76 standard ships per day.

Characteristics

Item Unit 1869 1956 1962 1980 1994 1996 2001
Overall Length Km. 164 175 175 190.25 190.25 190.25 190.25
Doubled Parts Km. - 29 29 78 78 78 78
Width at 11 m. depth m. 44 60 90 160 180/210 180/210 200/210
Water depth m. 10 14 15.5 19.5 20.5 21 22.5
Max. Draft of Ship Feet 22 35 38 53 56 58 62
Cross Sectional Area m2 304 1100 1800 3600 3800/4300 3900/4500 4800
Max. Tonnage (DWT) Ton 5000 30.000 80.000 150.000 180.000 185.000 210.000

Influence of the Suez Canal on World Trade

The geographical position of the Suez Canal makes it the shortest route between East and West as compared with the Cape of Good Hope. The Canal route achieves a saving in distance between the ports north and south the Canal, the matter that is translated into other savings in time, fuel consumption and ship operating costs as show in the table below

From To Distance (N. Miles) Saving %
S.C. CAPE
Ras Tanura Constantza 4.144 12.094 66
  Lavera 4.684 10.783 57
  Rotterdam 6.436 11.169 42
  New York 8.281 11.794 30
Jeddah Piraeus 1.320 11.207 88
Bombay Rotterdam 6.337 10.743 41

Lighthouses (Pharos)

Egypt took for so many years ago care of establishment of lighthouses, as a good example, we have Alexandria Tower, one of the ancient Seven Wonders, Lighthouses are used to facilitate the navigation in the night and day. It shortened the length of journey to half its duration.

Aims

  • Locate ports from distance
  • Position vessels while navigating
  • Facilitate coastal shipping
  • Identify ports approaches and entrances
  • Locate shoals waters and submerged islands which may endanger safety of navigation; ex: Red Sea Islands.

Work Mechanism

Each lighthouse has its distinct sign which could be recognized by seafarers from distance through its shape and color by day or its flashes characteristics (range, color, intervals) by night. It is measured in nautical miles. Lighthouses are put on a few minutes before sunset and are off a few minutes after sunrise and always on during mist.

Lighthouses Types

Manned Lighthouses

Has a staff of supervisors who works in shifts. At sunset, it is lighted by electricity

Unmanned Lighthouses

Use solar energy for lighting.
Lighthouses are monitored and controlled by a main control center in Max, Alex equipped to identify and repair their troubleshooting.

Mediterranean Sea Lighthouses

Ras Shakik Mediterranean Sea Lighthouses
Constructed in 1987, renewed in 1992
Ras El Teen
Constructed in 1848, modified in 1919, provided with electricity in 1954 and last modification in 1993
Ras Rachid
Constructed in 1870 and was replaced twice, the first in 1967 and the second in 1991 in the western bank of Rachid branch
El Borolous
Constructed in 1870, maintained and renewed in 1932 and a new one built in 1992
Damietta
Constructed in 1870, renewed in 1992
Port Said
Constructed in 1886, renewed in 1902 and 1923 and a new one built in 1992
El Arish
Constructed in 1997

Red Sea Lighthouses

Ain EL Sokhna Red Sea Lighthouses
Constructed in 1987
Abu Darag
Constructed in 1926 and renewed in 1987
Zafarana
Constructed in 1862, modified in 1930 and renewed in 1987
Ras Ghareb
Constructed in 1871, modified in 1928 and a new one was built in 1987
Ras Shoukir
Constructed in 1987
Um El Sayyed
Constructed in 1987
Kad Ben Haddan
Constructed in 1987

Remote Lighthouses
El Ashrafy
Constructed in 1862, a new one was built in 1940 and renewed in 1987

Shaker (Shedwan)
Constructed in 1889, modified in 1935, hit ten in 1967 war and renewed in 1987

El Akhaween
Constructed in 1883, modified in 1906 and renewed in 1993

Abu El Kizan
Constructed in 1863, a new one was built in 1931 and renewed in 1993


 

Suez Canal Bribery



Photo Copyright © Ieuan Dolby, 2006

By Ieuan Dolby

The Captain was climbing the wall in Port Suez. He was pulling his hair out, and every time he came out of his cabin he would scream and bash his head against the bulkhead in frustration. The problem was that the Customs, Officials of all shapes and sizes, the Health Authorities and the Canal Authorities (and others), were all wanting something and it was too much for the poor wee man.

Let me make it quite plain at this early stage of this article that bribery is the only way to get through the Canal. I appreciate the fact that this is not mentioned in any Canal literature or Maritime Agency guideline but take it as true that if you dont bribe then you will not be going through. Well, you might be going through but only after a five day or so delay and the cost of doing so will have tripled. Bribery is an accepted form of 'making life move forwards' in Egypt. Every single official expects to receive gifts and if they do not receive anything then they feel hurt and abused. They will then make life difficult for you, most likely by following the letter of the law which will create traumas and continuing nightmares for the Captains involved.

Bribery is necessary to get a ship through the Canal at reasonable cost and on the day that you want to go through.

Our Captain

Out Captain was a little Scottish miser and he had decided that he was going to get through the Canal without greasing any palms along the way. The rest of us on the ship tried to tell him that the only way to get through was to "pay-the-piper" but he was decided on his course of action. So that was why he was pulling his hair out as every official that came onboard got upset when they received nothing so they made life difficult for him. The Agent was one of the worst and he spent nearly five hours trying to break down the Captain: to make him crack. For five hours they went on and on. The agent would request some document and the Captain would find it for him. The Agent would then ask for six copies to be made of this document and the Skipper would trundle on up to the bridge to make them. Upon returning the Agent would be sitting there with his files closed and would engage the Captain in some polite conversation about the weather or something equally inane.

The skipper thinking that he was nearly finished with this man was drawn into a relaxed state of mind when suddenly the agent would pounce once again. Opening his files the agent would say, "see Captain, now need full list of tanks, Fuel Oil, water, lubricating Oil and need how much is in them. Terrible yes, but see Captain here, write down in Canal Instructions. Must have Tank Capacities. Yes Captain, you have any cigarettes, maybe bottle whisky? You have nothing for agent Captain? Okay, we must need Tank Capacities and need ten photocopies each document, see written here need documents ten copies. You get now for me urgent! Maybe you have tobacco or perfume for me?"

Now whether the official is a Customs Officer or some lowly errand boy they are all quite blatant in their approach to gaining bribes.

Our Skipper eventually broke down when our agent suddenly said that he did not know what a platform supply vessel was. Captain, you have this ship, I dont know. You must give me letter from office saying your vessel type and name. Also say that you not have cargo. You have maybe biscuits or coffee, I like coffee. Or you have some Cigarettes? Why dont you have cargo on this ship? Yes, our poor Skipper broke down and ended up giving to him (after five hours of defiance) a bottle of perfume that he had bought to take home to his wife. The agent was rapt with this unusual gift and upon receiving it all of the impending paperwork that had been taken out for action suddenly disappeared and our ship was instantly cleared for take-off. And if our skipper had given this 'gift' right at the beginning when the agent first appeared onboard we would have had the clearance with little ado. Well out skipper learnt the hard way!

Cigarettes

Ships planning ongoing through the Canal normally stock up with many cartons of Cigarettes for the pure purpose of bribery. Our company had given to us one box of twenty cartons for this reason and these had been delivered in Malta before we set sail for the Canal. But our Captain was wary about giving these out as even before we had got alongside in Port Suez three Cartons had been given to the Pilots who wouldnt leave until they received a gift. So at that rate he was worried that he would not have enough to get through the Canal safely - the reason why the agent got the perfume.

In actual fact the Pilots went overboard in their desperation to get some smokes out of us. We had arranged to pick up the pilot as per usual at the boarding ground before proceeding in to the Port of Suez. Not really a port that needs a Pilot but then I suppose how are the Pilots supposed to get their cut if they don't come onto the vessels. Anyway, we had slowed down and the Pilot Cutter drew up beside our boarding ladder. But he would not come onboard. He shouted up to the crew that he wanted Cigarettes before joining the vessel and after much palaver a carton of 200 was handed down to him. He looked at that carton as if it was 'dirt' and then looked at the Crew and put his fingers up a basic message to state that another carton was required before he would step foot on the vessel. Once again our skipper was pressurized into reducing his precious stock and eventually after this carton was handed down the Pilot clambered up onto our vessel.

But it did not stop there. The Pilot went up to the bridge but basically refused to take charge of the navigation of the vessel. Our skipper increased the speed and pointed the bows towards the Port of Suez whilst the pilot just looked out of the window with his arms crossed and in complete silence. Meanwhile on the back deck the crew where watching the antics of the pilot launch. This boat was racing alongside our vessel occasionally touching our sides with the cutter then bouncing back off in alarming fashion. The driver of the cutter kept his finger on the horn so along with the occasional bang we had this loud and annoying braying noise to cope with. And from the Pilot launch figures kept on emerging (when they thought it safe to do so) and sticking their fingers up and shouting "cigarettes, cigarettes".

The Captain on the bridge was suffering on two scores. He felt obliged to slow down for safety reasons as court enquiries and an Egyptian jail did not paint a nice picture should he smash up the pilot launch. And another reason for slowing down was that he simply did not know which berth to dock at or where to go in the Port of Suez seeing as how the pilot was incommunicado. Well, to cut a long story short the skipper was forced into handing down a third carton of smokes to the desperate bunch in the pilot cutter. He handed them down to a now happy and smiling crew and returned to be greeted by a happy and informative pilot, one who acted as if nothing untoward had occurred and one who directed that ship into port with skill and grace.

If bribes are not given the reverberations are enormous. If the pilot does not receive his gift he will inform the next pilot (more pilots required for the outward journey from the Port of Suez and more still for the Canal Transit). This next pilot will then be extremely annoying in nature like not tuning up or arriving late and not directing the ship as he should do and this will continue down the line. If Health officials palms are not greased problems could be found with he vessel, if the Search Light Company does not receive the gift the cost of fitting tow or more searchlights will be astronomical and the Lifting Device Company will delay you ship for a few days whilst chain blocks and lifting devices of amazing proportions will be fitted. Of course should a carton of Cigarettes pass their way across into the hands of the guy/official hanging around all work lists and requirements will suddenly vanish.

As with any system or clique the size and scale of bribery in Egypt is massive to say the least. And it is an acceptable form or way of life especially for those running the canal. Bribery and palm-greasing is the means for which many a family gain income and manage to survive and without which they would starve. So whether we in the Western World condemn this type of action or not is of no import, we are in their country and so we should accept their values.

The Final Straw

The last straw for our Captain was when the Search Light Company man turned up at midnight (with us having been there since midday) and dragged the Captain out of bed to discuss the fitting of the searchlight forward that we were suddenly required to have for the transit regardless of the fact that we had three searchlights of our own and ones that were more powerful than anything they could fit. We had all been up late tidying up the mess that the shopkeepers had left and tying to work out if we had enough food left to get us to the Sri-Lanka at the very least. So by midnight those of us that could were asleep in bed, trying to get a few winks before starting off to join the convoy at 0300hrs.

The noise coming from the corridor woke us all up. Staggering out of bed and out of the door I became witness to a mad and scary Scotsman with untamed hair screaming down the stairs at a visibly frightened Egyptian man. Our Skipper had finally cracked.

The mate sorted the problem out by grappling with the Scary man and pulling him into his cabin probably dowsed him in whisky to calm him down. I went to see the Salesman from the Search Light Company and between us we came to the amicable solution that one carton of cigarettes and our last jar of strawberry jam would negate the requirement for any more searchlights. He went away with his trophies and I returned to bed, whishing that we were through to the other side and on our way.



Ship Travelling North
Photo Copyright © Ieuan Dolby, 2006

0300hrs. I have the started the engines and the thrusters are on the board. The crew is all on standby forward and aft for the ropes and we have our position number in the convoy of 13.

0330hrs. The Pilot is still not here and we have missed our place in the convoy.

0400hs. Pilot has arrived but is standing at the bottom of the gangway and refusing to come onboard. Our Captain has decided not to give him anything.

0415hrs. Now we are on the way, last position in the convoy but at least we are moving. The mate decided that he didnt want to stay another night in Port Suez so he ran downstairs and gave the Pilot his smokes.

We are on the way. The Pilot is happy with his gift and the crew and I are all happy to be on the way. Only the Captain remains unhappy but it is a small price to pay for freedom.

Facts and Figures......
of the Suez Canal

 



Drawing Copyright © Ieuan Dolby, 2006

By Ieuan Dolby

The Suez Canal is 193KM long. This is not your typical country waterway with some little houseboats on it by any means! Serious stuff belongs here! 20,000 ships pass annually through this Canal making it the busiest Canal in the world. Okay, pretty long, pretty deep and very wide and everything must tick like clockwork.

The governing body of the Canal is the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) who has the ultimate say in its matters and affairs. The daily running of the Canal is through this body and the Ministry of Transport whose duties still remain unclear to many. The SCA is headquartered at Ismailia on Lake Timsah (Half way along the Canal). The Canal separates Egypt into two distinct sections: The Eastern Bank named the Sinai Peninsular and the Western Bank which is the main part of Egypt. The Canal itself was built to connect the Atlantic Ocean and thus the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and thus the Indian Ocean. The two main points at either end of the Canal are Port Said at the North end and Port Suez at the Southern end.

The Size and Scale

It is a tough Canal to maintain with constant dredging operations being undertaken and the SCA is forever planning larger and bigger channels as ships around the world get bigger, faster, fatter and deeper. Projects over the years have increased the dimensions of the Canal so much so that in 1989 the Canal was 14 times the original size than when the Canal was built in 1869. In 2001 a large project got underway to deepen the Canal so that it could receive vessels of up to 210,000 tons with a depth of nineteen meters. And now things are getting even better and bigger with a planned development to 22 meters by 2010.

And amazingly at this depth 82% of the tanker fleet will use the Canal and 99% of all other ships will be able to use it. In fact it would be simpler to say that most vessels will be able to use the Canal once the current depth has been reached. Only those tankers classed as 'too large to see their own bow' should one be standing at the stern have to take the long route around. The Jahr Viking managed to get through the Canal with little problem and she weighed in at the time with a total of 564,763 tons, so as long as a ships draught is not greater than the depth of the Canal then there is not much preventing most ship sailing on through.

Of course cost factors regulate why the SCA wants to deepen the Canal. The larger the ship the more money they make. One fee paid by one large supertanker will cover the dues paid by the other fourteen ships in the convoy. The Canal Authority drags in well over $2,000,000,000 US dollars per year in dues paid and this will increase considerably once the Canal deepening project is completed. And as an aside this 2 billion that works its way into the SCA coffers is to pay for the transit of about 400 millions tons of cargo on an average of 36.8 ships/day (in 2000). Again this volumetric figure should increase disproportionately once a few more supertankers add their large payloads onto the list.



 



View of Port Suez from Canal
Photo Copyright © Ieuan Dolby, 2006

But to run a Canal is not cheap. Money has to be spent on maintenance and on the large deepening, widening and enlargement projects. As an example, when the Canal was deepened in to nineteen meters in 1980 the final adding up of the project came to US$1.3 billion. Not cheap by any means and in those days well above the income received through dues received. Another great expenditure is the massive Radar and the System of Navigational Aids that ensure the Safety and free flow of vessels in the Canal. The initial high tech system that was installed cost 18 million in 1981. Since then thousands of upgrades and modernizing features have been fitted at great cost to the SCA.

And of course other fees have to be paid out. Least of all of which is the constant maintenance of the banks that is nothing but sand for most of the Canals length. And the constant dredging of the Canals Bottom, the costs of the Tugs that are on constant standby as vessels pass through and etc, etc, etc.

But why is it so important that ships use the Canal? Quite simply to reduce fuel costs for those ships that worry about fuel costs and to reduce travel time for those who worry about getting there quickly! Apart from these two items there is no reason to use the Canal at all but most companies want to be quick and to save on fuel costs so.....! With the Suez Canal in operation the only people using the longer way around by the Cape Horn are those ships too large to fit through the Canal and those with a death wish (like yacht people).

As an example of the usefulness of the Canal: The distance between Jedda Port, Saudi Arabia and Konstaza in the Black Sea via the Cape of Good Hope is 11,771 nautical miles . The Suez Canal route reduces this distance by around 56%. The distance between Tokyo and Rotterdam Port in the Netherlands is reduced by 23% if made via the Suez Canal instead of the Cape of Good Hope. * The Suez Canal transports around 7% of the world sea-borne trade, 25 % of the trade to and from the Red Sea, and the Arabian Gulf, 20% of the trade to and from India, and South-East Asia, as well as 29% of the trade to and from the Far East.

The Convoys

Ships cannot just turn up at the Canal entrance, pay a man in the glass booth and then saunter on through. There is a large system and network of agencies and Government Bodies who control the arrangement of the Convoys and these must be strictly adhered to should one wish to sail through on time and with little hassle. To book a place on a convoy arrival times of the vessel must be sent 5 days prior to the event taking place.

There are three convoys daily passing through the Canal. There are two Convoys going Southbound (SB) and only one Convoy going Northbound (NB). The SB convoys are at 0100 and at 0700 hrs and the NB convoy is at 0500hrs. Vessels must arrive at a minimum of four hours before the departure time of the Convoy.

As the typical large Tanker, Bulk carrier or Dangerous Cargo Vessel going southbound is empty of cargo the speed maintained is around 10knots (14km/hr). Northbound the loaded Tankers, Bulk Carriers and the Dangerous Cargo Vessels (LPG/LNG) are required to transit at a slower speed, usually 8-9 Knots.

Once the SCA has a ships arrival time, ships particulars and data a place in the convoy will be issued to the Master. Faster and more maneuverable vessels will be placed at the front of the convoy with those more liable to breakdown, with dangerous cargoes onboard or be unable to maintain speed will be placed at the rear. Of course should a fine War Ship or Aircraft carrier happen to be in your convoy they will get the number one spot - especially if it is an American one. Many personally would prefer if they had the rear spot but .............!

A place in the convoy, a starting time for off and a pilot is all that is required. The Pilot Station will arrange the pilots and the Mooring Boat Company will arrange the Boatman to come onboard and the Searchlight Company will arrange for the fitting of a forward reaching searchlight.
 

The Passage

From Port Said the Canal extends in a near vertical line (as on a map) southward till it reaches the top of the Red Sea and the to official end of the Canal Zone of Port Suez. The Canal traverses the sands through the eastern edge of the salt-marsh area of Lake Manzala, over the red dessert soils of the Isthmus to reach the midpoint at the Northern edge of Lake Timsah. Continuing south it passes through Lake Timsah where the large town of Ismailia is situated, then on through the Great and Little Bitter Lakes (now a single lake) and southwards again past the city of Suez to reach the Gulf of Suez at Port Taufiq.

Most of the Canals length is single lane, with a maximum width of 365 meters or between the buoys that mark safe navigation of only 205 meters. So from Port Said to Ismailia there is nearly 70km to transit and only sand banks closing in on the vessels. From Ismailia to Port Taufiq there is another 83km to go but this is broken up by the 30km length of the Great and Little Bitter Lakes (which should now be called the Normal Bitter Lake seeing as how they are connected and are one).

The total combined length of the Canal where ships can pass by in opposite directions is 68km but as a general rule of thumb safety comes first as it should do. The lone Convoy going North typically steams right on through from one end to the other undisturbed and free to move, and depending on the lead vessels speed. But the Southbound Convoys are responsible for clearing the way for the NB Convoy. This is typically done by anchoring the first SB convoy in the Bitter Lakes and the second Convoy passes in the twin passage named the El Ballah pass. This is approximately one third of the distance from Port Said to the other end.

Setting off and settled into your place in the convoy it is time to look outwards. And you will see sand and more sand. Read all about "sand" in a later article!

It is often written in books that the Suez Canal is a hive of activity but in reality there is just sand and lots of it. The occasional Electricity Pylon will break the monotony, a train may race alongside for a little while before disappearing in a cloud of black smoke and the newly built Suspension Bridge across the Canal may give you moment to wonder why there are no cars using it (the tolls imposed are too expensive).

From the Anchorage to the Southern entrance there is a distance of 15km to cover. And at the other end from the lighted buoy to the entrance of the Canal in Port Said is a distance of 22.5km. Enough time to enjoy the sea before getting sand up your nose.

As an interesting aside: Many holiday makers from Europe and America look forwards to and dream about a holiday with sun, sea and sand! And that is what the Suez Canal has and lots of. The water in the Canal is salt water, there is enough sand to keep every child in the world in sand castles for years to come and the sun beats down without fail.

Maybe worth considering!


 

 
 
 
   
 
 
 
   
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