The Corinth Canal is a narrow man-made canal that separates the Greek mainland in two and connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. Originally dug in ancient times this narrow stretch of sea served as proof of man’s mastery over his environment. In 1893 the canal was upgraded so that it could connect the ports of Greece with the Ports of Italy.
The canal is extremely narrow when compared to the width of most modern-day ships, so as ships got increasingly larger the canal was used less. Eventually, the canal was used only by small boats and as a tourist attraction. However, in an effort to help set a world record, the massive cruise liner MS Braemar recently passed through the canal.
As the world held its breath the cruise ship, carrying 929 passengers, slowly made its way through the 25-meter-wide canal. This was the largest ship to ever make the remarkable journey and passengers were able to reach out and touch the rock walls of the canal as the ship passed through. From the surrounding landscape, farmers looked on as the massive ship stood out amongst the mountain ranges in the distance.
This is a remarkable record set by the cruise line and passengers and onlookers were exited as the ship made its way through the narrow pass. The ship measuring 22.5 meters wide and weighing a staggering 25 000 tons was able to pass without incident. Even though modern ships have been passing through the canal since 1893, at 195-meters-long the Braemar is not only the heaviest but also the longest ship to pass through the canal.
What makes this journey so amazing are the images of the massive ship passing through the tight space of the rocky canal and these images quickly went viral. While the canal shortens the distance between the port of Athens and Italian ports considerably it is unclear whether the major cruise lines will now make regular use of the canal or if this was a one-off journey for the record.
The operator of the MS Braemar, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said in a statement that they ‘aimed at helping their passengers create memories that would last a lifetime and that this will be a holiday the passengers of the Braemar will never forget’. Now talk about a tight squeeze! One thing is for sure, the ancient builders who first began building the canal never would have imagined it would serve as a waterway for such a massive ship.