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CLEARING THE SUEZ CANAL The international recognition gained from years of working abroad and the fact that SVITZER had been able to remain neutral to a high degree in times of political confl ict resulted in a high profi le contract in 1956. SVITZER together with the Dutch salvage company L. Smit & Co’s Internationale Sleepdienst was appointed by the United Nations to clear the Suez Canal of wrecks from the Suez crisis. The Suez crisis resulted from a confl ict between England and France, who were the legal owners of the canal at the time, and Egypt, who wanted to nationalize it. England and France had allied themselves with Israel in military attacks against Egypt. In response Egypt blocked the canal by sinking numerous objects including tug boats, ferries, excavators, cranes, a landing craft full of concrete and a railway bridge. The United Nations decided that the canal should be cleared by salvage companies, who not only had the necessary skill and technical facilities, but were also neutral with regard to the political confl ict that had caused the situation. SVITZER and Smit met these requirements and worked together with an American general also appointed by the United Nations. It was a signifi cant task undertaken by 32 salvage vessels and more than 450 people. The operation started on 31st December 1956 and was concluded in May 1957. This picture, taken on 10th January, shows the salvage vessels working on the wreck of the sunken Egyptian landing craft AKKA. It had been sunk with a cargo of cement and was one of the most serious obstacles facing the salvors in the canal. A SVITZER vessel was used along with other vessels for placing small cables under the sunken ship. STORIES SVITZER Cranes were used to lift the sunken obstacles in the Suez Canal. 48 S V I T Z E R – S A F E T Y A N D S U P P O R T AT S E A


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