Mohab Mamish: Long-time Navy Commander and Former Chief of Suez Canal

The whole world was calculating global trade losses that amounted to billions of dollars due to a blocked Suez Canal late in March. Just after the crucial waterway was cleared, Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, the former chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and the incumbent advisor to the Egyptian president on Suez Canal zone and seaports, gave due credit to the efforts of the authority’s head, engineers, workers and pilots who were finally able to dislodge the stranded ship and free the waterway.

“For 54 years the Canal has been an open sea passage, but the few days of blockage put the whole world in a state of confusion,” Mamish told a local TV news channel, stressing the fact that solving the Ever Given ship’s crisis has provided evidence of the efficiency and competence of the Suez Canal authority.

While acknowledging that the captain of the ship is the one responsible for the incident, Mamish insisted that an inspection and review should be conducted to teach the canal’s pilots what happened and be prepared to avoid similar events.

Proudly speaking of his seven-year position at the helm of the authority (from August 2012 to April 2017), he described the Suez Canal as an Egyptian icon, in reference to its strategic and historic importance to the world. Appreciation of Mamish’s contributions to the authority culminated in the announcement by the SCA Chairman Osama Rabie that a huge new dredge will be named after the former authority’s head Mohab Mamish, as part of a plan to boost the authority’s equipment with more dredges and tugboats to deal with any future incidents similar to that of late March.

The Suez Canal Corridor Area Project was the megaproject launched by Mamish upon the directive of Egypt’s president Sisi in 2014. The project aimed to develop the three canal cities: Suez, Ismailia, and Port Said, in addition to creating a New Suez Canal that works as a second shipping lane along the original Suez Canal in order to allow ships to sail in both directions at the same time.

Being a Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Navy from September 2007 to August 2012, Mohab Mamish was also a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which governed the country after the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 that ousted the late President Hosni Mubarak.

During his tenure as the navy commander, he was responsible for the security of seaports and waterway passages. He also had to secure Alexandria, and territorial waters during the chaotic incidents that erupted all over the country due to the violence which accompanied the revolution. In addition to protecting off-shore oil and gas sites, he combated sea polluting activities, piracy and illegal sea immigration in Egyptian territorial waters.

Mamish, who was born in 1948, graduated from the Egyptian Navy Academy in 1971 and served as an anti-submarine specialist in the October War of 1973. He also holds a masters degree in naval sciences, as well as a fellowship degree from the Nasser Military Academy. Joining overseas training missions, Mamish travelled to the United Kingdom, the United States, Greece, France, China and UAE.

The vice admiral, who belongs to a middle-class family whose members also served in the military, was awarded numerous accolades and awards due to his valuable achievements to the country. Some of those were: Order of the Republic, Medal of long and Meritorious Service, Medal of Duty, Medal of 6th of October, Medal of the Egyptian Navy, Medal of October Warriors, Medal of Superior Service, and Silver Jubilee of Sinai Liberation.