The Egyptian Suez Canal Authority can look back on a successful first year of operations, since the canal was re-opened in June last year.
GV British tanker "Overseas Argonaut" passing through Canal
CU Mashhour Ahmed Mashhour watching through binoculars as tanker passes (2 shots)
CU Mashhour speaking to reporter
LV & GV British tanker "Mysia" passing through Canal (2 shots)
MASHHOUR: "During this period, about twelve thousand two hundred ships passed, and the... (indistinct) ... numbers is increasing daily, and you can notice by this graph that we started by a number ... of three hundred ships during June, and it is increasing gradually. During August it was thirteen hundred seventy-six ships, during the month of August.
"And you expect that curve to keep on going up?"
"I hope. Yes."
Initials BB/2200 NPJ/MR/BB/2230
This film is serviced with a sound extract from an interview with Mr. Mashhour by BBC reporter, Gordon Martin. A transcript is provided below.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Egyptian Suez Canal Authority can look back on a successful first year of operations, since the canal was re-opened in June last year. During the first twelve months about 12,200 ships have passed through the Canal, and the Chairman of the Canal Authority, Mr. Mashhour Ahmed Mashhour, believes they are well on target for achieving an estimated annual income of four hundred million dollars (GBP200 million sterling).
Mr. Mashhour says that many ship owners are finding that the Canal is saving them money, especially the owners of oil tankers. One tanker owner reported that the Canal was saving him up to a hundred thousand dollars (GBP 50,000 sterling) a trip.
The first super tanker passed through the Canal last September, and the Authority expects it to be used increasingly by these massive and expensive ships. Mr. Mashhour says that the number of super tankers using the Canal is increasing every month.
In 1967, just before the Canal was closed by the war with Israel, oil tankers represented 70 per cent of the total tonnage passing through the Canal. But over the past year it has only been about 38 per cent. However the total amount of tonnage passing through the Canal has increased by 60 per cent compared with the 1967 figure.
The Authority is also carrying out a scheme to widen and deepen the Canal. It began eight months ago, and the first stage is expected to be completed by 1979. This will allow tankers of up to 150,000 tons to pass through, and tankers up to 300,000 tons in ballast. When the second phase is complete, tankers of up 270,000 tons will be able to pass loaded, and any size of vessel in ballast.
The Suez Canal is 101 miles long and was opened in 1869 after ten years of construction which cost GBP17m. sterling. It was nationalised in 1956 by President Nasser, and was blocked for the first time during the subsequent Arab-Israeli hostilities in which Britain and France intervened. In 1967 the third Arab-Israeli war led to its complete closure.
SYNOPSIS: The Suez Canal, which was completely closed during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, is celebrating its first year of operations after being reopened in June last year. The Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, Mr. Mashhour Ahmed Mashhour, is confident the Authority will achieve its target income, and when interviewed by reporter Gordon Martin, he expressed satisfaction at the first year.
The Authority is already carrying out a scheme to widen and deepen the Canal. When the first stage is completed in 1979, tankers of up to a hundred and fifty thousand tons will be able to use it.