Last Update 21:48
Coral reefs in Egypt's Red Sea devastated by foreign vessel
Nationality of ship, which reportedly destroyed large swathes of coral reef in two of Egypt's premiere dive locations, remains undetermined
Bassem Abo Alabass, Thursday 16 May 2013
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Sinai
The foreign ship docks in the Egypt's diving zone Canyon (Photo: courtesy from REPS)

Several natural coral reefs located in South Sinai's internationally renowned Blue Hole and Canyon diving areas in the Red Sea were devastated on Wednesday evening, Egypt's NGO Rescue and Environmental Protection Society (REPS) has told Ahram Online.

REPS officials explained that several coral reefs near the two Red Sea diving zones had been destroyed after a foreign ship, called the 'Sea Lord,' swerved from its course, lowering its anchor into the reef bed.

On Wednesday, REPS requested that the Egyptian Navy and Red Sea Coast Guard take action against the foreign vessel.

"The nationality of the 120-metre-long ship has yet to be determined, but it arrived via Jordan's Aqaba seaport," REPS head Hassan El-Tayeb told Ahram Online on Thursday.

It remains unclear whether the Sea Lord had suffered a technical failure or had deliberately cast anchor near the diving zones, El-Tayeb added.

According to Egyptian law, ships are banned from docking in or near coral reefs so as to avoid damaging them.

"How is it possible that no help was provided this ship when it was adrift in international waters?" asked one foreign member of REPS's Dahab office.

"How is it possible that this ship was able to approach the Egyptian coast without any attempt by the military to verify the captain's intentions or the ship's situation?" he added.

A delegation from Egypt's Environmental Protection Authority in South Sinai is currently trying to estimate the damage sustained by the coral reefs.

Correction: The Rescue and Environmental Protection Society (REPS) is an NGO and not state-run as previously reported.



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Dahabitant
18-05-2013 01:51pm
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Why?
The question is why was this ship so close to the reef and the shore line and not in the normal shipping 'lane'. According to shipping tracker the ship left Aqaba Port on 13/05/2013 around 9pm. Three days later at 5pm on 16/05/2013 it is coming into Dahab's coast line. Why come so close to the dive area of Dahab - A special delivery maybe???? The government need to think about this carefully and realise the security issue this ship has raised. Also the risk of damage to the reef, we are happy local divers have checked the area and found no damage this time. A full investigation should still be carried out to assess why this ship was able to come into the coast line. Was there a fault with the vessel? But this should be a wake up call and their should be better monitoring of the movement of large vessels and ships along the South Sinai coast.
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Alvin
19-05-2013 12:53pm
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Floating environmental disasters
You will see from my post below that the ship was one of those that simply drift around the Gulf of Aqaba - I have often spotted that very same ship, and others, from the beaches at Nuweiba. Probably simply drifted too far south this time - they do tend to do that. Drifting southwards with the current and then powering every so often back up north and then, when needing to, popping into Aqaba for supplies. These ships have come too close to the coast before, between Nuweiba and Taba.
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Alvin
18-05-2013 11:42am
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Ship should be impounded
This ship appears to be one of half a dozen similar ships that have, since the shipping recession of 2009, been hanging around the northern areas of the Gulf of Aqaba and are a nuisance and potentially an environmental hazard. We have reported to the authorities about these ships in the past as they appear to have caused minor oil spillages in the past along the Nuweiba and Taba beaches and it was only a matter of time before one of them had an accident such as this. Whether there is or is not any damage to the coral is one question but there may be some small oil spillages to clear up. Action needs to be taken against this ship and the other ships should be banned from the area and not allowed to simply float aimlessly in the Gulf of Aqaba.
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Egyptian Owner Of Diving Center
17-05-2013 04:40pm
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Coral reefs in Egypt's Red Sea devastated by foreign vessel
Why This Ship Come To This Beach And For What And in the Photos WE Can See The Bristle ship It is prohibited in all areas of large ships access to the region
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Reps
17-05-2013 04:31pm
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Coral reefs in Egypt's Red Sea devastated by foreign vessel
We still Need More Control From Cost G And Egyptian Navy too
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Hans Lange
17-05-2013 12:59pm
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No devastation seen on Dahabs Reefs
After alarmed by your article about the impact of the vessel on the reefs of Dahab I went there this morning to see the damage with my own eyes. And...there is no damage! I dont really know where your information came from but in the area where the vessel dropped the anchor you dont see any damage neither "devastation" of the reef at all. We observed an area of appr. 75 meters parallel of the coast line to a depth of 50-60 meters. All the range between the dive site called Ricks Reef and the Canyon there was nothing to be seen. Please correct your article accordingly. For any more information please contact me!
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Blue Planet Society
17-05-2013 12:12am
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Sea Lord
This looks like the ship that caused the damage http://bit.ly/14tTJ0t
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Hans Lange
17-05-2013 04:05pm
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No damage
As I said above: after seeing the site with my own eyes I can confirm that there was no damage ito be seen in the limits of sport diving. The anchor was dropped in far deeper waters to avoid the ship to run into the coast line. And that prevented serious damage of dahab. But to place an article about devastated reefs is simply false and damage the image of Dahab in an unacceptable way.
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bernard lechauve
16-05-2013 09:52pm
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thank you
my flight was not delayed from Heathrow airport, but from Antigua, you see even now you don,t have the facts rights regards B.LECHAUVE
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