Crucial Suez Canal Transit Rules 

Transit through the Suez Canal

  1. Transit through the SC is open to vessels of all nations subject to their complying with the conditions stated in the present Rules of Navigation. All references and circulars which shall be issued by the SCA will constitute an integral part of these rules. Vessels also have to comply with the provisions of the International Regulations for SOLAS and its amendments, MARPOL 73/78, as well as the provisions of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea and all laws, orders, and regulations issued by the Egyptian Government.
  2. The SCA reserves the right to refuse access to the Canal waters, or order the towage or convoying of vessels considered dangerous or troublesome to navigation in the Canal.
    (Non or erroneous declaration of dangerous cargo see art.47bis).
  3. By the sole fact of using the Canal waters, masters and owners of vessels bind themselves to accept all the conditions of the present Rules of Navigation, with which they acknowledge being acquainted, to conform with these conditions in every respect, to comply with any requisition made with a view to their being duly carried out, and to adhere to CA private Code of Signals as shown in Part III of these Rules.

Mooring Boats

  1. Vessels transiting the Canal must have mooring boats as mentioned hereafter hired from the Suez Canal Mooring Company approved by SCA
    In case no mooring boats from the said company are available, ship's boats if suitable for mooring in the Canal can be used and must be manned by shore crew, hired from the SC mooring company, each boat is to be manned by three men.
  2. One mooring boat or one motor boat for vessels under 2500 tons gross, SC.G.T.
  3. One motor boat for vessels from 2500 to 5000 tons gross, SC.G.T.
  4. Two motor boats or one motor boat and one mooring boat for vessels from 5000 SC.G.T. to 30000 SC.G.T.
  5. (Two motor boats for vessels over 30000 tons gross, SC.G.T.
  6. Ships may ask for additional motor boats or mooring boats according to Master's request.
    These mooring boats must be in constant readiness for lowering to run the ropes to the mooring posts without any delay during the transit of the vessel
  7. Ships must be fitted with well maintained lifting appliances capable of lifting mooring boats of 4 tons weight (Including crew members).
  8. Ships may carry extra mooring boats as passengers for the interest of navigation. However, L.P.G, L.N.G, and Loaded Tankers are not allowed any extra boats.
  9. The handling of mooring boats must be carried out well clear from the ship's propellers.
  10. Masters are requested to reduce speed during lifting or lowering operations of mooring boats, an officer must be in charge, to avoid accidents that may endanger the life of mooring men.
  11. If the vessel has no means for lifting mooring boats and ship's boats are not suitable for mooring in the Canal, the vessel shall not be allowed to transit the Canal.

Spreaders (Slings)

Containerships are advised to have their own spreaders (slings) to assist unloading and reloading containers in case of necessity. But those carrying different sizes of containers must have their own spreaders.


There must be a rudder angle indicator and an engine R.P.M. indicator in the wheelhouse so located and illuminated as to be easily visible by the pilot.

Bow Anchors

  1. Any transiting vessel must be equipped with two classed anchors located forward of the collision bulkhead. Each anchor must be fitted with its own chain or wire cable, and be capable of being released, and raised by means of a windlass or capstain.
  2. In lieu of 1, vessels of less than 1500 SCGT must be equipped with one working anchor.


  1. Every vessel (other than navy ships) intending to transit the Suez Canal or staying at port Said or port of Suez, or at the Suez Canal basins or docks must have a shipping agent.
  2. SCA confirms that it has no agents or representatives abroad.
  3. The Egyptian Authorities are to be notified of intended transit of navy ships in SC viz., Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense as well as Ports and Lights Administration.

Canal Waters

  1. Canal Waters mean the Canal proper, and the access channels thereto, the waters within the Canal Authority concession adjacent to the Canal proper, port Said Harbour and port of Suez.
  2. The Canal proper: As to its length, is reckoned to run from Km 3.710 West Branch for vessels entering from port Said Harbour and from Km 1.333 East Branch for vessels entering through the East Approach Channel to Hm.3 at Suez, including the two channels of the G.B.L and all Canal by - passes.
  3. As to its width the Canal is bounded by two banks when they are immerged water, if the banks are submerged, the width of the Canal is Limited to the perpendiculars at the point of intersection of the submarine bank with the horizontal plane corresponding to the maximum draught authorized including squat.


  1. When on Canal waters or at its ports or roads, any vessel or floating structure of any description are responsible for any damage and consequential loss she may cause either directly or indirectly to herself or to CA properties or personnel or to third party.
  2. The vessels' or floating structures' owners and/or operators are responsible without option to release themselves from responsibility by limited liability.
  3. The words (owners and /or operators) for the purpose of the present article, shall be considered to mean person/persons or corporate body responsible for the vessel at the time of navigational accident or incident.
  4. Moreover, the vessel guarantees to indemnify the CA in respect of any claim against the latter by reason of any damage, whatsoever she may cause either directly or indirectly to third party.
  5. The vessel waives the right to claim the SCA for any damages caused by third party that she may sustain while on Canal Waters.

Temporary delaying of vessels

  1. The Canal Authority may delay a vessel for the purpose of investigating any claim or dispute that may arise, or any formal or informal complaint, or allegation of violation of the laws of the Canal or for security reasons.
  2. A vessel may be delayed until, in the opinion of CA, its tenderness, trim, list, cargo, hull, machinery have been put into such condition as will make the vessel reasonably safe for her passage through the Canal.
  3. No claim for damages is accepted or considered because of any such temporary delaying of vessels.


  1. Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels, whatever be their tonnage when entering, leaving, moving, changing berth or shifting on Canal Waters or port Said and Suez harbors.
  2. Any exemption must be explicitly authorized by the Suez Canal Authority.

Changing Berth in Roads Anchorages

Vessels at Port Said Anchorage Areas (Northern and Southern), Suez Roads, the Bitter Lakes and Timsah Lake are not authorized to change berth, anchorage or make fast alongside other vessel or carry out any cargo operations without explicit authorization from the SCA.

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