The 6.4-km canal serves about 11,000 vessels a year, mainly commercial ships and pleasure yachts, offering a short transit from southern Italy to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, saving mariners a 700-km (434-mile) journey around the Peloponnese Peninsula. However, its 21.5-metre (64-foot) width means it is not a key waterway for ocean-going vessels.

The Hellenic coastguard was notified on 26 February, and banned ships from sailing, after seeing the landslide, according to a Greek coastguard official as quoted by Reuters.

Local station Korinthos TV showed chunks of rock which had peeled off the canal’s steep walls and fallen into the waterway: