Thursday, February 17, 2011
TWO FOR SUEZ TRANSIT
UPDATE: February 18, 2011, the Egyptian Authorities stated today that the two Iranian Warships had withdrawn their application to transit the Suez Canal northbound. They were not part of a 28 ship convoy heading from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea in current transits.
The Suez Canal Authority reported this afternoon that two Iranian warships had requested transit of the Suez Canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The two warships are said to be the frigate IS Alvand and the support ship IS Kharg. Requests for transits by warships must be made 48 hours beforehand and they are usually in a lead position in the convoy. For passage through the Suez Canal there is a system of two Southbound (N1 & N2) and one Northbound (S1) convoys and each vessel must make use of the Suez Canal Pilots. The convoys are numbered in accordance to where they are formed so the northbound convoy is numbered S1. Since the Egyptian Military is now ruling Egypt the final permission for transit must be approved by them.
The Suez Canal is an open International Waterway with passage available to any vessel provided their Flag State nation is not at war with Egypt. Pilotage is compulsory, there are two Roads Pilots, two Canal pilots and pilots board at Suez, Port Said and at Ismailia there is a Pilot change before the Bitter Lakes or after BL in the northbound convoy (S1). The Roads Pilot takes the vessel from the seabuoy to the Canal entrance where the Canal Transit Pilot exchanges. On completing Transit the Canal Pilot exchanges with the Roads Pilot who then takes the vessel to the seabuoy. Transit through the Canal takes about 14 hours.