The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has issued a notice of assurance that the Suez Canal is “100 per cent safe”. There is, however, still some concern that the civil unrest in Egypt may impact on operations at the key Suez Canal ports of Ismailia, Suez and Port Said - owners have been recommended not to conduct crew changes, for instance, although terminals are reported as operating normally, as are canal convoys. The Egyptian Army has been deployed to ensure all vessels can safely navigate the Canal and has taken control of the Suez Canal building, according to Inchcape Shipping Services.
Admiral Mohab Mameesh, chairman of the SCA, boarded two passing ships in the Canal for two successive days in order to go some way towards assuring that the traffic of ships in the Canal is “100% safe”. To view the press release supporting this claim, please click here.
Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office country advice summarises the situation as follows:
- There is a high threat from terrorism. Although security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas, there remains a high risk of attacks which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by foreigners. Following French military intervention in Mali, there is a possibility of retaliatory attacks targeting Western interests in the region. You should be vigilant.
- Demonstrations happen regularly across Egypt, often on Fridays. Some have been violent and have resulted in deaths. Police may use tear gas for crowd control. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately.
- There are ongoing disturbances in Cairo, Port Said, Suez, Ismailia and Alexandria some of which have been violent. There have been several fatalities.
- A state of emergency is in force in the Governorates of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia. There is a curfew in these Governorates from 21:00 to 06:00. The curfew is expected to remain in place until 26 February 2013.
Further demonstrations are expected daily in Cairo until at least 2 February and demonstrations are also likely to continue in Alexandria and in the Governorates of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia.