Sinking of Al Salam Boccaccio 98 February 2006


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Jun 11, 2000
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Some interesting stuff on the Red Sea here, including a map which gives some depths. I read it had sunk in the deepest part, which seems to suggest some 6.5k feet, or 2k odd metres. So it would need equipment.
http://home.planet.nl/~hans.mebrat/eritrea-redsea.htm

Re the captain legging it - the authorities say he has not been found among the survivors. It may be simply a case of mistaken identity. If my distant memories of ferries in that region are accurate, I doubt if he was as starched, gold-emblazoned, and 'obvious' as Captain Smith. Of course, captains bailing out at the earliest opportunity are not unknown. I seem to recall, vaguely I admit, a captain in the 1980s / 90s who was last seen vanishing over the horizon at quite a clip, in a motorised raft, in order to "summon help", whilst everyone else on board waited for rescue (which came), and the entertainments staff did their (wonderful) best to maintain order and morale. Or maybe I am confusing two events, and he was the Captain who merely sat on deck whilst the entertainments staff took over?

Without wanting to sound as though I am caricaturing anyone, countries in that part of the world are not as 'organised' as we are in the West. In fact, that is part of their everyday appeal. People riding pillion on scooters, not a helmet in sight, clutching chickens and so forth; shops containing wonderful food and ingredients, but clearly quite oblivious of health regulations; stupendously imaginative schemes for making money, avoiding tax etc. For us, in the over-regulated West, it is a nostalgic reminder of how life used to be easier and - despite threats of religious fundamentalism - in many ways, freer.

Unfortunately, it also means that when disaster strikes, rehearsed responses are usually simply not in place. The survivor who shouted, "Our lives are the cheapest in the world!" was probably not entirely wrong. Not when you consider that the authorities are already calling them 'martyrs'.

Martyrs die for a cause - not just because a ship was unseaworthy, surely?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Are there plans (to anyone's knowledge) of diving down there to see what can be figured out from the ship itself as to what actually happened?<<

Matthew, they may be considering it but at the moment, it's waaaaaaayyyyyy too early in the game to make any serious plans to do something like that. At the moment, the Egyptian authorities have their hands full just picking up the pieces, stopping riots from breaking out, and (I'm not kidding about this either!) wondering whether or not this affair will cause the current government to fall.

Certainly the wreck will be easily reachable even in the deepest areas for most deep submergance vehicals, but for the moment, they just have bigger fish to fry.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Or maybe I am confusing two events, and he was the Captain who merely sat on deck whilst the entertainments staff took over? <<

Addendum to above. Monica, you're not confusing two events. You just described what happened in the Oceanos sinking. There are, as you mentioned, other examples of captains bagging butt out of there when all went to hell in a handbasket. The Captain of the Yarmouth Castle was one of the first ones off the ship when she burned and sank.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Caught this piece on CNN this morning:
quote:

Crowd trashes Egypt ferry office
Hopes fade for vessel's estimated missing 800

Monday, February 6, 2006; Posted: 2:38 a.m. EST (07:38 GMT)

SAFAGA, Egypt (AP) -- Hundreds of relatives of passengers drowned on a Red Sea ferry attacked the offices of the owners Monday, throwing its furniture into the street and burning the company's signboard.

Riot police intervened and fired tear gas to restore order.

>snip<

Mubarak has ordered an investigation into the ferry sinking.

But independent Egyptian newspapers have accused his government of protecting the ship's owner, who they say is close to a top official in Mubarak's government. The weekly independent paper Soutelomma, often critical of the government, said two other ferries owned by the same company had sunk in the past 10 years, without the government properly investigating or putting the company's owner on trial.
Hmmmmmmm...accusations of the government being in collusion with a shipping company. Sound familier? For the rest of the story, go to http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/02/06/egypt.ferry.fire.ap/index.html
 
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Matthew your question is far from stupid. In fact it is a prerequesit for investigation.
Monica, another example is one of the Wilhelm Gustloff's captains being found hiding in a cutter
He WAS identified by his braid and yes he did survive as did the other three.

Martin
 

Zachary Lee

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Apr 22, 2005
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Hey, everyone! I'm sure a few of you guys have heard about the recent Egyptian ferry disaster a few days ago. I've been trying to find out more about the disaster. How do you guys think the ferry sank? I heard it was in a storm and it sank around 2:00 A.M. What do you guys think? Also do you guys think this disaster is more worse than the Estonia disaster of 1994? If it is it could be the worst ferry disaster of all time.

[Moderator's note: This post, which was in another thread outside of this subtopic, has been moved to here. JDT]
 
Feb 21, 2005
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Thank you Michael and Martin.

I am very interested in finding out what caused this. Survivor accounts at this point differ so much that it seems impossible to put together a clear picture without going down there and checking it out.

Are we even sure how many went down with it? It was brought up that a lot of times on ships like that, and in that region, that people tend to "slip in" that are not on the list.

People rushing and destroying offices and rioting is not helping matters in the least. I understand being very upset at the loss of friends and family, but why don't they calm down and let these people do their jobs so they CAN determine who is missing and who survived?

Just a very sad ordeal all around.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Survivor accounts at this point differ so much that it seems impossible to put together a clear picture without going down there and checking it out.<<

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Accident Investigation, where there are as many different stories as there are witnesses who survived to tell about it...and if there aren't any, the media will make sure there are.

Unfortunately, short of sending in ROV's, simply going down and looking at the wreck may be surprisingly unrevealing. At least that would be the case if all they can do is poke around outside and "Read the paint." Getting inside may well change that picture, if only to determine where the fire was and where it spread to.

>>Are we even sure how many went down with it?<<

No...and for exactly the reasons you mentioned. It's quite common to fill these things with unlisted passengers.

Zachary, if you click on the links to the news stories in the posts above, you'll know at least as much as we do right now...and for all the verbiage, that may not be much. IF the information in the stories is correct...and that could very well be one damned big IF...it would appear that a major fire broke out and that the firefighting water taken into the ship contributed signifigently to the additional topweight so that at some point, it was enough to roll the ship over in heavy seas and send her into Davy Jones Locker.

The catch is that it's very early on into this affair and the formal investigation hasn't really been started. It could very well be that when it's all said and done, some surprises may crop up to form a very unexpected picture.

Or it could very well be that when all is said and done, a *lot* more will be said then actually done! (This is the political angle where various parties with vested interests are going to everything they can to cover their butts!) Whatever the case may be, I don't think this fiasco is going to go away anytime soon. It's attracted too much public attention and the families of the survivors and the victims have no reason to forget about it.
 
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quote:

Monica, another example is one of the Wilhelm Gustloff's captains being found hiding in a cutter
He WAS identified by his braid and yes he did survive as did the other three.

There were four captains on the Wilhelm Gustloff? Hardly an ideal situation, surely, but maybe one was the chief, and the others more like Executive Officers. War suspends all normal judgements. Just watched archived film from Iwo Jima, where the US troops were trying to accept surrender, knowing that most often the first one out had his hands up, but the others behind had grenades. But where they knew they had a genuine surrender, they were remarkably restrained and considerate, I thought. I don't suppose many Russians are proud of sinking the WG.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I don't suppose many Russians are proud of sinking the WG.<<

Maybe not today, but I doubt very much that a lot of tears were shed during the war. The Russians hated the Germans with a fiery passion, and after Stalingrad, it was hard to blame them.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Caught this interesting piece on MSNBC this morning:
quote:

Officials say ferry sank hours before they knew
Owners waited to tell government about disaster, delaying rescue efforts.

CAIRO, Egypt - Egypt’s presidential spokesman said Tuesday the owners of the Red Sea ferry that sank last week, drowning about 1,000 people, did not inform the government of the disaster for nearly six hours.

Suleiman Awad emerged from a Cabinet session chaired by President Hosni Mubarak to say the government first heard from owner Al Salam Maritime Transport Co. that the ship was in danger at 7 a.m. Friday and was feared sunk at 7:45 a.m.
For the rest of the story, go to http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11221540/
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I look forward to reading about the findings.<<

So do I, but I won't be holding my breath waiting for it. These affairs can take quite a bit of time to sort out, and the people who do the sorting don't always have a lot of interest in finding the reality so much as whatever "The Truth" is supposed to be.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>An inquiry has cleared the ship's owners and given an Egyptian Captain Lord six months.<<

Notably, the owners were very well connected with the "right people" Must be nice to have friends in high places.
wink.gif
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From Arab View:

Maritime Musings
quote:

I have been following with concern the fallout of the terrible tragedy that befell the Egyptian ferryboat “Salam 98”.

The sinking of this boat with the loss of over a thousand souls was a great shock. A greater shock was the incompetence, even corruption of the Egyptian authorities that allowed this tragedy to happen.
Full OpEd piece at http://www.arabview.com/articles.asp?article=569
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From MSNBC:

Ferry owner in Egypt disaster gets prison
quote:

CAIRO - The wealthy owner of a ferry that sank three years ago in the Red Sea, killing more than 1,000 people, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and negligence Wednesday and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Hundreds of victims' family members packing the courtroom in the Red Sea port city of Hurghada responded to the verdict with applause and shouts of "long live justice," but others protested at what they saw as an overly light sentence for ferry owner Mamdouh Ismail.
More at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29639217/

Comment: About time!
 
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