General News: Corinth Canal may need urgent work, experts warn

The safety of the Corinth Canal was raised as an issue in Parliament on Monday, with experts warning that the stability of the sides of the canal must urgently be assessed and work carried out immediately to minimise the possibility of rockfalls and landslides.

In a letter read out in Parliament in response to a question tabled by PASOK MP Angelos Manolakis, the chairman of the Corinth Canal Company AEDIK Athanasios Malerbas noted that the canal was now 120 years old and that the risk its safety would be compromised was "ever-present".

The MP's question concerned the increasing frequency of landslides and rock falls in the canal in recent years, and whether the necessary maintenance work had been carried out.

"No construction is safe over time," Malerbas said in his letter, pointing out that the stability parameters of the canal were steadily deteriorating over time.

The first priority was to assess the stability of the sides of the canal and then deal with any unstable sections found, he said. He warned, however, that delays in dealing with the problems could lead to levels of deterioration that could not later be reversed.

AEDIK called for work to "lighten" the sides of the canal and noted that after 120 years of the canal's constant operation, earthquakes and explosions, it was necessary to be constantly on guard against "unpleasant developments".

The company also revealed its intention to sue the previous concession-holder operating the canal, Periandros SA, for neglecting the canal's maintenance and poor operating methods.

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