JULY 27, 2015 — There was tight security as trial convoys of ships in both directions passed through the expanded Suez Canal for the first time on Saturday, July 25. The canal has been widened and deepened, adding bypasses on its western side to enable the canal to double its daily capacity from 49 to an estimated 97 ships.
Helicopters and naval vessels escorted the ships as part of the security operation. The Sinai Peninsula, which borders the canal, is a base for Islamic militants who see the canal and international shipping that uses it as potential targets.
Egyptian newspaper Al-Yawm al-Sabi reported that the first trial of north-south and south-north convoys, each composed of three large ships, had successfully completed passage through the canal.
Al-Yawm al-Sabi reported that the head of the Suez Canal Authority Muhab Mamish was on board the first ship of the convoy heading to the Mediterranean from the Suez end.
The official inauguration of the new two-way route is due to take place on August 6.