Egyptian authorities fail to locate sunken ferry's sea permit

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Ahram Online, Monday 7 Nov 2011

Official permit for Jordanian ferry that sank in the Red Sea on Thursday can't be found, say Egyptian investigators

Egyptian investigators have reportedly failed to locate an official travel permit for the Jordanian passenger ferry that caught on fire and eventually sank in the Red Sea on Thursday.

On Monday, Egyptian port authorities confirmed that the Pella had sunk during a salvage operation after the ship’s structure had been “eroded by fire.”

According to independent Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk, the ferry – owned and managed by the Egyptian-Jordanian Arab Bridge Maritime Company – had been en route to Egypt’s Nuweiba seaport from the Jordanian port of Aqaba when it was convulsed by fire. More than 1,200 passengers, mostly Egyptians, had been on board at the time.

Rescue operations conducted by Egyptian naval forces managed to evacuate passengers onto lifeboats, although one Jordanian national – who had jumped overboard to avoid the fire – had reportedly drowned.

Investigations have further revealed that the number of those onboard had exceeded the vessel’s maximum capacity of 700 passengers, Al-Shorouk reported.

News of the ferry disaster recalled to many Egyptians the Al-Salam 98 ferry disaster, which killed at least 1,000 people in February 2006 and generated public outrage at the authorities' poor response and the ship owner's breaching of safety rules.

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