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Leaks halt construction at Suez Canal project

Suez Canal chairman Mohab Mameesh says rumours of missing workers are untrue and politically motivated

Ahram Online , Monday 19 Jan 2015
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Site of the upgrade project of the Suez Cana;, August 12, 2014 (Photo: AP)
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A section of the channel Egypt is building parallel to the Suez Canal suffered leaks in the early hours of Monday, causing no injuries.

Part of the sedimentation basin collapsed and the resulting water flow caused two empty vehicles to drift, Canal chairman Mohab Mameesh said.

He said the leak was quickly stopped and was being repaired while navigation in the original canal was ongoing as normal.

El-Watan newspaper initially reported that 250 workers were missing. But this was later denied by Canal officials.

Nobody was even “scratched” in the incident, Mameesh said.

In a phone call with private broadcast channel ONTV, he said rumours of missing workers were untrue and politically motivated.

Mameesh added that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had called him from the UAE to check on the safety of the workers and the Canal.

Egypt is expanding the artificial waterway that connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency reserves. The project is due for completion by August 2015.

Last Wednesday, British Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood sailed in the new canal accompanied by British businessmen, becoming the first foreign delegation to do so.

The government estimates the new project will double the canal’s revenues by 2023.

The canal generated some $5.2 billion in revenues during the 2012/2013 fiscal year.

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