Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
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EGYPT: Iranian ships have yet to reach Suez Canal

February 21, 2011 |  7:39 am

SuezThe Suez Canal Authority has not received a schedule for the passage of two Iranian warships through the waterway, Ahmed El Manakhly, head of traffic at the canal, told the Associated Press.

"We can't say when the ships will pass," El Manakhly said Monday. "We can’t say if the ships will pass today or tomorrow. The Iranians haven’t informed us of when they will pass."

The Associated Press reported that the two naval vessels are expected to start their passage through the canal Tuesday, paying a fee of $290,000. Egyptian officials have said they approved Iran’s request to send the ships through the canal on their way to Syria.

The 120-mile canal carries about 2.5% of world oil output, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and is a key route for ships carrying Asian consumer goods to Europe.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Ship traffic in the Suez Canal as seen from the International Space Station in June 2006. Egypt has agreed to allow two Iranian naval vessels to transit the canal to the Mediterranean, ending several days of confusion over their planned passage, which Israel's foreign minister has labeled a provocation. Credit: Associated Press / NASA