Suez chief says canal deepened for large ships

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PORT SAID: The head of Egypt s Suez Canal says the international water way has been deepened to allow through ships with a draft of up to 66 feet (20 meters).

The move is part of an ongoing effort to expand the canal so that the larger oil tankers, in this case up to 240,000 tons, can now use it.

Previously only ships with less than a 58 foot draft could use the canal, excluding most of the world s large oil tankers.

Adm. Ahmed Fadel told journalists Tuesday that the canal s revenues have dropped over the past four years by 2.7 percent compared to the previous four years.

In July, Fadel blamed global financial meltdown and piracy for the fall in revenues.

Canal fees are one of Egypt s largest sources of revenue. -AP

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