REGARDING MIKE SMITH’S QUERY ON THE CLOSURE of the Suez Canal in the May 2009 issue of Sea Breezes. The canal was blocked in a different war (1967, 6-day war) and yes it took eight years to clear it.
The Egyptians sank blockships at many spots in the canal trapping a lot of transit traffic in the Bitter Lakes. The end result was felt all over the world with ship re-assignments, capacity shortages and log voyages.
At the time I was doing some study in Sydney and part-time coach driving. On one occasion I found myself in 1968 taking a German crew on a Sunday expedition ostensibly for sightseeing but in reality to find a pub far enough out of town so that they could be qualified as ‘bona fide’ travellers and get beer on a Sunday. Not easy to explain to a thirsty crew the reasons that they had to sign a book before getting their “BIER - BIER - BIER”.
The captain told me that it was his first visit to Sydney since his apprenticeship days just before the harbour bridge was completed.
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