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Monday, 26 July 2021

Sinking of Suez Canal floating dock 'accidental'

Rescue team manages to save five ships, according to the Suez Canal Authority's operations unit, as accident investigators head to the scene

Salma El-Wardani , Tuesday 26 Jul 2011
Suez Maintenance dock
Suez Maintenance dock (Photo: Mai Shahin)
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The floating maintenance dock at the Suez Arsenal Company capsized early Tuesday morning, said a statement from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) received by Ahram Online.

A rescue team led by a group of engineers and another team of investigators set out for the scene. Five ships on the dock were successfully saved, according to Ahmed el-Manakheely, director of operations unit at the SCA.

El-Manakheely added that a team of engineers were sent to rescue the floating shipyard and officials dispatched to investigate the incident.

"No deaths or injuries were reported and the accident has no effect on the navigation in the Canal," the authority’s statement reads.

Workers in the Suez shipyard reported the sinking of the floating maintenance dock to the Suez Canal Management Agency.

The Arsenal serves around 60 big and medium-sized vessels which annually dock at the Suez Shipyard Co. for maintenance and repair.

Sources inside the Shipyard Company, one of seven companies under the Canal Authority, denied any suggestion the incident may have been planned by the 1,200 workers, who ended their one-month sit-in on 21 July, to put pressure on the Authority.

"This is a mere accident, workers had nothing to do with it," Mohamed Hamed, an employee at the Suez Shipyard Co. told Ahram Online. "Workers would never do something so destructive."

Around 2,200 workers from the Suez Canal shipyard have held three sit-ins since February. They have threatened to take action against the strategically important waterway if the administration failed to make a quick response to their demands, which include: a 40 per cent increase in basic salary, 7 per cent bonus payments, a rise in meal allowances and the resignation of Suez Canal Authority Chairman, Ahmed Fadel.

On 15 July, the Egyptian third army deployed large forces throughout Suez to protect the Suez Canal, banks, businesses and police stations in the city in anticipation of the Friday of Final Warning. The troops ensured that roads leading to the city were kept open, after protestors threatened to block navigation through the canal.

Workers decided to suspend sit-in last week after the authority promised to respond to their demands by increasing the salaries of workers in the seven companies under the Suez Canal Authority. The decision, however, has not yet been enacted.

The Suez Canal is one of Egypt's main foreign currency earners, generating $4.5 billion in 2009-2010.

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