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  1. #1
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    Egyptian passenger ship sinks in Red Sea

    BREAKING NEWS

    Updated: 7:00 a.m. ET Feb. 3, 2006
    CAIRO, Egypt - An Egyptian passenger ship carrying 1,300 people has sunk in the Red Sea, the head of the Egyptian Maritime Authority said Friday.

    Mahfouz Taha Marzouk said the ship, "Salaam 98," sank 40 miles off the Egyptian port of Hurghada.

    There was no indication of what may have brought down the ship.

    Helicopters have spotted bodies as well as one lifeboat carrying three people near where the ship was last seen on the radar screens, Egyptian maritime officials said. They did not say how many bodies were sighted.

    Four Egyptian frigates have sailed to rescue survivors, Egypt's minister of transport, Mohammed Lutfy Mansour, told CNN.

    "The Coast Guard is doing every in its power to try to rescue these people," Mansour said.

    Britain also diverted one of its warships to the scene.

    Asked about the safety of the ship, Mansour said it met safety requirements and that the number of passengers on board was less than the capacity.

    Vanished from radar
    The ship disappeared from radar screens shortly after sailing from the western Saudi port of Dubah at 7 p.m. local time on Thursday night, maritime officials in Suez said.

    The ship was due in at Egypt's port of Safaga at 3 a.m. local time, the officials added. Dubah and Safaga lie across from each other at the northern end of the Red Sea.

    The ship is owned by the Egyptian firm El-Salaam Maritime Transport Co. and was carrying 1,300 passengers, officials said.

    Hajj pilgrims believed among passengers
    Some of the passengers are believed to be pilgrims returning from the annual hajj to Mecca, which ended last month.

    Mamdouh Ismail, the company's owner, said the ship is more than 25 years old and registered in Panama. He refused to elaborate.

    A ship owned by the same company, also carrying pilgrims, collided with a cargo ship at the southern entrance to the Suez Canal in October, causing a stampede among passengers trying to escape the sinking ship. Two people were killed and 40 injured.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11157659/

  2. #2
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    I heard about this Banjo. I hope they can find many survivors.
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  3. #3
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    They found 3 in a life boat,many bodys floating around,,I really hope it was not a bomb!

  4. #4
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    Unhappy

    Very sad.

  5. #5
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    Any more survivor updates yet?
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  6. #6
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    BBC is reporting about 100 survivors pulled out so far and about 14 bodies as well.
    Also, while they do not yet know the cause of the sinking, it's being reported that there were very high winds at the time of departure.
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  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    Ship with 1,400 sinks in Red Sea
    '100 survivors pulled from water,' officials tell Egyptian media

    Friday, February 3, 2006; Posted: 10:33 a.m. EST (15:33 GMT)

    Rescue boats search for survivors.
    Image:

    Manage Alerts | What Is This? CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- An aging Egyptian passenger ferry loaded to near capacity with about 1,400 people and dozens of vehicles sank Friday in the Red Sea, an official said.

    Egyptian maritime officials told state-run Nile TV that 100 survivors had been rescued. At least 100 bodies have been recovered, Egyptian officials said.

    The ferry was carrying 1,310 passengers and a crew of 104, according to Egyptian Minister of Transport Mohamed Loutfy Mansour.

    Nile TV said the passengers included at least 115 foreigners, 99 of them Saudis.

    The ferry -- the Al Salam Boccaccio 98 -- left Dubah, western Saudi Arabia, en route to Egypt's southern port of Safaga, a spokesman for the El Salam Maritime Transport Co. told CNN.

    The Al Salam Boccaccio 98 disappeared at midnight (5 p.m. Thursday ET) from radar screens in the Red Sea off the Saudi coast, spokesman Adel Shoukri said from Cairo.

    Mansour, the Egyptian transport minister, said that at the time the ferry disappeared, the seas were high and the weather was bad with high winds.

    Egypt's state news agency MENA said another ferry in the area received a distress call from Al Salam Boccaccio's captain who said the his ship was in danger of sinking, Reuters reported. MENA did not mention how the second ferry reacted reacted to the message.

    Adel Shukri, head of administration at the Cairo headquarters of el-Salam Maritime Navigation, said coastal stations did not receive a SOS message from the crew, Reuters reported.

    Mansour said four frigates and a navy destroyer converged on the site, about 57 miles from Hurghada, where they joined a search-and-rescue effort. Hurghada is off Egypt's north-central Red Sea coast, below the Sinai Peninsula. (Map of the area)

    The Egyptian government has called their Saudi counterparts in the port of Jedda to seek help, Mansour said.

    The U.S. and British militaries Friday were in touch with the Egyptian government. U.S. military officials in Washington early Friday said a Maritime Patrol Aircraft would be sent, and that the British Royal Navy was sending the HMS Bulwark, an assault ship.

    But military officials later said both were canceled. The U.S. and British military have a very sparse presence in the remote Red Sea region.

    Separately, the U.S. State Department said there were no Americans among the ferry's passengers.

    The 35-year-old liner had been due to arrive at Safaga at 3 a.m. local time, the officials added.

    Rear Adm. Mahfouz Marzouk, head of the Suez Port Authority, said a collision along the congested waterway could not have been to blame.

    "It is not possible because we covered all these areas with radar," he told CNN. "If it were something like that, of course, we would have another ship or a distress signal or something like that. We didn't pick up any contact by wireless communication or by radar."

    It was not immediately clear what caused the ferry to sink.

    "Maybe, when we succeed (in retrieving) some of the survivors, they'll tell us what happened," he added.

    Families returning home
    Most of the those on board were believed to be Egyptian workers returning from Saudi Arabia. Others were pilgrims who had overstayed their visas when the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca ended.

    CNN's Ben Wedeman said that it was the end of the mid-term break in Egyptian schools and some of those aboard were families of Egyptian workers living in Saudi Arabia returning at the end of the break.

    Wederman said there was a record of fatal accidents in that part of the Red Sea. He said that in 1991 more than 500 people were killed when a ferry hit a coral reef outside the same Egyptian port.

    David Osler, of Lloyd's List, told CNN while it was too early to speculate on the cause of the ship's disappearance, the vessel was a roll-on roll-off ferry -- a design known to suffer stability problems.

    "Once a small amount of water gets on board it can set up an uncontrollable rocking that causes rapid capsize," he said.

    He said safety standards in the developed world had improved markedly in the after the Pride of Free Enterprise sank at Zeebrugge, Belgium, in 1987, killing 193 passengers.

    "This vessel was pensioned off from Italy. It may have been overloaded," he said.

    The ship is owned by the Egyptian firm El-Salaam Maritime Transport Co.

    A company spokesman said the ship was certified to carry passengers until 2010 and was fully compliant with maintenance regulations.

    The ship, which was built in 1970 and flies a Panamanian flag, was involved in a collision in 1999, he said.
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  9. #9
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    So like 1,200 people are missing???This is even worse than I thought...

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