Greece has closed the Corinth canal after a rockfall that followed heavy rain, temporarily blocking a transit route used mainly by commercial ships and pleasure yachts. The 6.4km canal serves about 11,000 ships a year, offering a short transit from southern Italy to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, saving mariners a 700km journey around the Peloponnese Peninsula. But its 21.5m width means it is not a key waterway for ocean-going vessels. Local station Korinthos TV showed chunks of rock which had peeled off the canal's steep walls and fallen into the waterway. A Greek coast guard official told Reuters on Monday that the canal's operator will need about 15 days to restore it. Conceptualised in ancient times, the canal started operations in 1893.