One of the oldest and largest superyachts in the world, the 145.75 metre El Mahrousa, has officially opened the newly improved Suez Canel. The new expansion has seen the main waterway deepened and also created a 35km channel parallel to it.
The 150-year-old presidential yacht El Mahrousa was the first vessel to cross the Suez Canal in 1869 and repeated the trip to mark the inauguration of the improved waterway yesterday (August 6). President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was joined on El Mahrousa by guests from around the world to travel up the new waterway.
The $8 billion mega-project was completed in just 12 months and has been billed as the Egyptian government’s “gift to the world”. Some independent experts have raised concerns that there is no longer enough East-West traffic to justify the investments for commercial shipping purposes. However, the changes will be a welcome relief for superyacht crews and captains making the voyage.
“The improvements reduce the transit from around 18 hours to about nine,” general manager for Akula Yachts David Goldie told Boat International.
The new channel means that it will be possible for vessels to sail in both directions simultaneously .
“The significant change is that yachts will no longer be required to drop anchor in Bitter Lake to allow traffic to come past,” Goldie added. “It was very unpleasant as the place is infested with flies and you were with all the merchant ships.
“The shorter transit time will also reduce the watch keeping commitments for the bridge watch keepers.”