Egyptian Army forces, heavily deployed at the southern entrance of the Suez Canal ahead of the anti-regime protests, secured the vital maritime transit route. This has actually resulted in ‘higher than average’ transit rates, reports Solace Global Maritime.
In its intelligence update issued on 1 July, days before the President was forced to cede power, Solace said that:
“Fifty-seven vessels transited the Suez Canal on 28 June, higher than the average figure with coordination reported between the Egyptian Armed Forces and security and intelligence bodies on security measures. On 30 June 13, the Egyptian government confirmed the highest degree of security measures have been adopted to secure the Suez Canal.”
Solace says that the situation has not changed this week, despite violence escalating. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against 'all travel' to parts of Egypt and 'all but essential travel' to most areas including Suez in the wake of the violence. But operations in the Suez Canal, as in recent instances of unrest (the 'state of emergency' in Port of Suez this January also had no impact on traffic flow), continues undaunted.
“The situation hasn’t affected our operations in any way and it is business as usual,” said Lee Wilson, manager at Solace.
There is however an increased threat to sailing yachts, said Wilson, nearly all classified now as ‘high risk’ owing to their slower speeds and lack of space to host a four man security team on board.
“We do not recommend high risk sailing yachts to transit the high risk area unless they are BMP 4 compliant and have the correct security on-board,” he said.
"I had a recent sailing yacht, very distinctive in appearance, low freeboard and slow speed that could not accommodate more than two security guards. In this instance I had to advise against the transit."
Superyachts accommodating a four-man security team would not be considered at risk transiting the region during the current situation.