I’ve sailed through the Suez Canal many times—as a junior officer, a captain of a destroyer, a commodore in command of a group of destroyers, and as a strike group commander on the nuclear aircraft carrier Enterprise. It is a fascinating trip, and dangerous in a variety of ways. At various times, the terrorist threat was very high and we went through with crew-served weapons manned fore and aft, and helicopters over head.
Exhaustion for the senior leaders tends to be a factor as it is a long passage. As a ship’s captain, I almost went aground in the Great Bitter Lake, as the Suez is called, after a couple of bad navigational decisions on my part, but, fortunately, my navigator saved my career with some good advice.