General Information

The canal operates 24 hours, 7 days per week except on Tuesdays from 06.00 to 18.00, when regular canal maintenance is carried out.

  • Towage is compulsory for all vessels exceeding 800 net tonnage, vessels not under command tankers and vessels carrying dangerous cargoes.
  • The use of pilots is compulsory for all vessels under towage and during night transits for all vessels exceeding 100 net tonnage.
  • The Corinth Canal is a junction of international sea communications and serves ships of all nationalities. It provides the shortest and safest sea-lane for ships coming from seaports of the Ionian sea, the Adriatic, Southern Italy, and those passing through the Straits or Messina en route to Eastern Mediterranean ports and on to the Black Sea and vice versa.
  • Comparative table of distances of sea routes through the canal and circumnavigating the Peloponnese are shown below (distances in nautical miles):

Routes Via the
Via the
Amount of
From the Straits of Messina to Piraeus. 403 477 74
From Venice to Piraeus 721 851 130
From Brindizi to Piraeus  333 464 131
From Corfu toPiraeus 237 370 133
From Patras to Piraeus  100 295 195
From Cesme to Brindinsi 530 630 100
From Veniceto Cape Sounion  745 837 92
From Brindizi to Cape Sounion  358 450 92
From Corfu to Cape Sounion  262 355 93

  • For the greater part of its length, the Canal is riveted with masonry from the bottom to a height of 2.00 metres above sea level.
  • At certain points the Canal is widened as a result of landslides caused by earthquakes, bombing during world War II, soil erosion etc.
  • The prevailing winds in the Canal are northwesterly. The next most prevalent are eastern and southern winds. Occasionally, there are north winds of a high and rapidly variable intensity (gusting), requiring special attention on the part of ships sailing into and out of Poseidonia.
  • Sea currents in the Canal usually change every six hours.
  • The usual rate of stream approaches 2 1/2 knots and seldom exceeds 3 knots.
  • During the change in the direction of the stream, the period of slack is of appreciable duration, while the speed of the adverse flow increases gradually.
  • External factors, such as tidal bores, winds blowing for several days continuously without change of direction etc., can occasionally influence the current alternation period.
  • The difference between high and low water level is approximately 60 centimetres.
  • The Canal is illuminated at night by electric (natrium vapour) lamps of amber colour, placed opposite each other in pairs, with a distance of 100 metres between each pair. The purpose of these is to mark out the flanks of the Canal by night. There is also an auxiliary lighting network with ordinary light bulbs, fitted in the same order as that above.
  • The Canal entrances are illuminated by fixed electric port lights of 32-candle power, Green on the right and Red on the left as the ship enters.
  • Ships approaching the Canal during the night are effectively guide at the Corinth side by the flashing white beacon of the Melangavion lighthouse (with a range of 20 miles), and at the Saronic Gulf side by the flashing red Sousakion lighthouse (with a range of 18 miles).
  • An extensive lighthouse system further into the Saronic and Corinthian Gulfs fully facilitates sailing by night.
  • Both the canal and the Possidonia entrance of the Canal are monitored by 5 cameras for increased vessel safety.