El Mahrousa

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El Horria aka Mahroussa (1865).jpg
Career (Egypt)
Name: El Mahrousa
Builder: Samuda Brothers, Cubitt Town, London
Laid down: 1863
Launched: 1865
Reclassified: Rebuilt 1951 and became a naval training vessel[citation needed]
General characteristics
Tonnage: 4,561 GT
Displacement: 3,762 tons
Length: 146 m (478 ft)
Lengthened in 1872 by 12 m (40 ft)
In 1905 lengthened by a further 16 ft 5 in (5.00 m)
Beam: 13 m (43 ft)
Draught: 5.3 m (17 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: Steam turbine, 3 screws, 6,500 hp (4,800 kW)
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h) maximum
13 knots (24 km/h) cruise
Crew: 160

El Mahrousa (Arabic: المحروسة‎, literally "The Protected"), officially renamed for a period of time as El Horreya (Arabic: الحرية‎, "Freedom"), is a super yacht[1] that currently serves as Egypt's presidential yacht, and before that as the country's royal yacht. It was built by the London-based Samuda Brothers company in 1863 at the order of Khedive Ismail Pasha. The ship was handed over to its Egyptian crew two years later, and it became the first one to cross the Suez Canal in 1869 during its inauguration, with Ismail Pasha and French empress Eugénie de Montijo onboard. It is the oldest active yacht in the world and the seventh largest one.[2]

El Mahrousa underwent a number of important alternations during its years of service, including the replacement of its two paddle wheels by steam turbines in 1872, the installation of a telegraph in 1912 and a diesel-fueled system in 1919, as well as multiple-feet lengthenings throughout that period. It also witnessed much of Egypt's modern history since it was first commissioned in the 19th century up till now. The yacht carried three Egyptian rulers to their exile abroad, namely Khedive Ismail, Khedive Abbas II and King Farouk I, along with the latter's recently born son, Fuad II, the last ruling members of the Muhammad Ali dynasty. This marked the end of the monarchy in Egypt following the 1952 revolution and the founding of the Republic of Egypt, after which the yacht joined the Egyptian Navy and was renamed El Horreya (English: Liberty). The ship continued to play a role in the country's post-revolutionary history and participated in the 1976 United States Bicentennial celebrations. It took Egypt's president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, to multiple locations and it notably sailed with President Anwar Sadat to Jaffa, Israel, during the 1979 peace talks between Egypt and Israel. It was renamed back to El Mahrousa in 2000 and recently became the first ship to cross the New Suez Canal extension in 2015.[2]


It was built by the Samuda Brothers on the River Thames and designed by Oliver Lang[2] along the same lines as HMY Victoria and Albert II.[3]

It had two significant alterations, being lengthened by 40 feet in 1872, with a further 16.5 feet being added in 1905. The 1905 rebuild was undertaken at the Pointhouse Shipyard of A & J Inglis in Glasgow, Scotland and included the replacement of its two paddle wheels with triple screws powered by steam turbines built by Inglis at their Warroch Street Engine Works in Glasgow. Inglis were one of the first companies to be granted a license by the Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company, Wallsend for the construction of steam turbines in their own works.

In 1869, the Mahroussa gained fame as the first ship to pass through the newly completed Suez Canal as part of the opening ceremony.

After the abdication of King Farouk and his arrival in Europe he sent back the yacht to Egypt with all the crew and the equipment; it was taken over by the Egyptian government for use as a naval training ship, and her name was changed to "El Horreya". It spent most of its career in the eastern Mediterranean, but did participate in the International Naval Review held to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States of America.

Presently, the ship is cared for by the Egyptian Navy, and is occasionally used as a Presidential Yacht. The ship goes to sea about three times a year, usually for just a day.[4]

On September 10, 2000 after visiting the El Horreya, ex-president Mubarak changed the name back to its original name "Mahroussa"[5]

On August 6, 2015, the ship was used to inaugurate the New Suez Canal.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ van Rooy, Charl (6 August 2015). "Superyacht El Mahrousa first ship to cross New Suez Canal". Superyacht Times. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c El-Gundy, Zeinab (6 August 2015). "El-Mahrousa yacht: A history entwined with the Suez Canal". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "As Egypt Prepares to Open Expanded Suez Canal, Did You Know the Ship That Led the Way in the Original Opening of the Canal in 1869 is Still in Commission?". Middle East Institute (Editor's Blog). 31 July 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "S.S. Mahroussa - Who were Oliver Lang and son?". sites.google.com. 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  5. ^ http://www.amwague.com/article-single-id-7801.html