Egypt's interior ministry blames transportation authority for Nile ferry disaster

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Jan 2016

A ferry sank on the Nile in Egypt's Delta region on Thursday night, leaving 15 dead

The rescue operation in Kafr El-Sheikh searching for survivors in the Nile (Photo:Al-Ahram)

The General Authority for River Transport is the entity responsible for offering licences to Nile ferryboats, not the interior ministry, and thus bears responsibility for Thursday's deadly incident, a security official told Al Hayat TV channel on Saturday.

The security official's comments came two days after a ferry sank in the Nile in Egypt's Delta region leaving at least 15 dead.   

"The ferry was suspended from operating," the head of the water bodies' police department Hamed El Aqily said on Al Hayat. "Whoever issues licences should also monitor the process. It's not the role of the police."

"There is no real procedure to suspend or seize property such as ferry boats. In addition, the fine for a suspended ferry or boat is LE10. So I think we need stricter laws to be implemented," Aqily added.  

On Friday, Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered an immediate investigation into the incident and also called on the ministers of local development and transportation to ensure that all ferries are registered and undergo regular maintenance.    

The ferry was attempting to cross from Egypt's Delta governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh’s Sendion to Beheira’s Derot on Thursday night.

Heavy rain and cold temperatures were witnessed nationwide that contributed to several traffic accidents.

Transportation accidents and fatalities, often due to poor maintenance, are not uncommon in Egypt.

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