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    A passenger ferry missing in Red Sea


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    New Member marinetek1 is an unknown quantity at this point marinetek1's Avatar
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    Re: A passenger ferry missing in Red Sea

    According to Reuters - A ferry carrying 1,300 passengers sank in the Red Sea overnight on a trip from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, and search and rescue teams picked up dozens of dead bodies from the water, official sources said on Friday.
    At least 12 survivors were brought ashore at the Egyptian port of Safaga, where the 35-year-old ferry was meant to arrive at 2 a.m. (midnight British time) on Friday morning, they said.
    A search and rescue plane also spotted a lifeboat near where the 11,800 gross ton Al Salam 98 last had contact with shore at about 10 p.m. (8:00 a.m. British time) on Thursday, one official said.
    "Dozens of bodies were picked up from the sea ... they were from the ferry," a police source at Safaga said.
    An official at el-Salam Maritime Transport Company, owner of the ferry, said it might take hours to find out what had happened to the ship, which was built in Italy in 1970 and moved to the Egyptian company in 1998.
    Most of the passengers were Egyptians working in Saudi Arabia, officials said, but at this time of year many Egyptians are still on their way home from the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
    Egypt's state news agency MENA quoted official sources in Safaga as saying the ferry had sunk 57 miles (92 km) from the Egyptian port of Hurghada, north of Safaga.
    "Some of the passengers survived," it added.
    The London-based Lloyds Casualty Service, citing the Egyptian defence ministry, said the ship was believed to have sunk at latitude 27.08 degrees North and longitude 34.57 degrees East, about half way through its voyage.
    The ferry was on a trip between the Saudi port of Duba and Safaga, both at the northern end of the Red Sea. It had originally come from Jeddah, the main port for the pilgrimage.
    MENA said the Saint Catherine, another ferry travelling the same route overnight in the opposite direction, received a distress message in which the Al Salam captain said his ship was in danger of sinking. The agency did not say how the Saint Catherine reacted.
    Coastal stations received no SOS message from the crew, said Adel Shukri, head of administration at the Cairo headquarters of el-Salam Maritime Navigation.
    POOR WEATHER
    The weather had been very poor overnight on the Saudi side of the Red Sea, with heavy winds and rain, he said. But visibility should have been good out at sea, he added.
    Another company official, Andrea Odone, said he could not confirm that the ship had sunk or that there were any survivors. "It could take some hours to work out what happened," Odone told Reuters from the company headquarters.
    Transport Minister Mohamed Lutfi Mansour told MENA the armed forces had deployed four rescue vessels at the scene.
    Britain said it had diverted a warship, the HMS Bulwark, from a Red Sea patrol with 650 men on board including a company of Royal Marines, to aid in a rescue.
    The ship, one of Britain's two new Albion-class amphibious assault ships, was 490 miles away, and would arrive at the scene within 48 hours, a spokesman said.
    A sister ship of the sunken ferry, the Al Salam 95, sank in the Red Sea in October after a collision with a Cypriot commercial vessel. In that case almost all of the passengers were rescued.
    The Al Salam 98 received a safety management certificate from an Italian organisation in October 2005, covering safety drills and other on-board procedures.
    In December 1991, 464 people were killed when the ship Salem Express hit coral outside Safaga, which lies 600 km (375 miles) southeast of Cairo.


    http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/news...RRY-AGENCY.xml

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    Re: A passenger ferry missing in Red Sea

    Egyptian Ferry Carrying 1,414 People Sinks in Red Sea (Update4)
    2006-02-03 10:13 (New York)
    (Adds details of company in seventh paragraph.)
    By Maher Chmaytelli and Alex Morales
    Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- An Egyptian ferry with 1,414 people
    on board sank in the Red Sea after leaving Saudi Arabia,
    Egyptian officials said.
    More than 100 people were rescued and almost 100 bodies
    found, Ayman al-Kaffas, an Egyptian Embassy spokesman in London,
    said in a phone interview. He said officials are hopeful they
    can rescue more survivors. There were thunderstorms in the area
    late yesterday when the ferry, Al Salam Boccaccio 98, was last
    seen on radar 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the Saudi coast.
    ``There's a very high possibility it was due to poor
    weather conditions,'' al-Kaffas said. ``There's low visibility,
    strong winds and very turbulent waters in the Red Sea at this
    time of year,'' conditions that also are hampering the air and
    sea search, he said.
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered an investigation
    into the sinking that will include an inquiry into the ferry
    company's safety standards, al-Kaffas said.
    The ferry is owned by an Egyptian company, El-Salam
    Maritime Transport Co., and is registered in Panama, Egypt's
    Interior Ministry said. One of the company's ferries sank in the
    Egyptian Red Sea port of Suez in October after a collision. All
    of that ferry's passengers and crew were evacuated during the
    incident.
    Distress Beacon
    There was no immediate information on why Al Salam
    Boccaccio 98 sank. The U.K.'s Royal Air Force said it picked up
    a signal from the ship's distress beacon at 11:58 p.m. London
    time. A distress call also was heard by a nearby ship, a port of
    Safaga spokesman told Egypt's official news service, MENA.
    The ferry carried 1,310 passengers and a crew of 104, and
    was in good condition, Transportation Minister Mohamed Mansour
    told MENA. The ferry was able to accommodate 1,487 passengers,
    according to the Web site of El-Salam Maritime Transport, which
    says it is the biggest private shipping company in Egypt.
    Among the passengers were 1,158 Egyptians, 99 Saudis, six
    Syrians, four Palestinians, a Canadian, one person from the
    United Arab Emirates, a Yemeni, an Omani and one person from
    Sudan, the Safaga port spokesman said.
    Most of the passengers making the four- to five-hour
    journey were workers returning home to Egypt, al-Kaffas said.
    The ferry made about a third of the trip before disappearing
    from radar late yesterday, and rescue operations began just over
    an hour later, after midnight local time, he said.
    The vessel was to have arrived at 2:30 a.m. in Safaga, in
    southern Egypt, from the western Saudi Arabian port of Duba, Red
    Sea province Governor Abu Bakr al-Rashidi said. It carried 22
    cars and 21 trucks, he said.

    Frigates

    Five Egyptian frigates are at the scene, supported by
    helicopters, al-Kaffas said. Mubarak has ordered the navy ``to
    deploy all its capabilities'' and Saudi Arabian forces are
    assisting, the embassy spokesman said.
    The distress signal was picked up by the British military's
    rescue coordination center at the RAF's Kinloss base in northern
    Scotland, and then relayed to Egyptian authorities, Wing
    Commander Trevor Field, a Ministry of Defence spokesman, said in
    a telephone interview in London.
    HMS Bulwark, a U.K. Navy vessel is on its way to the scene,
    and has been offered to assist in the rescue, the Ministry of
    Defence said. The ship was 490 miles from the site of the
    sinking, and was expected to arrive within 48 hours, he said.

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