Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

Ferry owner let off over deadly 2006 accident

©

Latest update : 2008-07-28

A trial on Egypt's worst maritime disaster let off the main defendants including parliament member and ferry owner Mamduh Ismail. In 2006 a ferry from Saudi Arabia to the Egypt sank, killing more than a 1000 people on board.

Scuffles erupted at an Egyptian court on Sunday when five of six defendants were cleared of blame for a 2006 ferry sinking in which more than 1,000 people died, Egypt's worst maritime disaster.
  
Hysterical relatives voiced anger as only Salaheddin Gomaa, captain of another ferry, the Saint Catherine, was jailed for six months for failing to come to the assistance of the Al-Salam Boccaccio 98, a judicial source said.
  
The Al-Salam sank in the middle of the Red Sea on February 3, 2006 as it was carrying more than 1,400 people from Saudi Arabia to the Egyptian port of Safaga, where the trial was held.
  
"My brother, my brother," one woman screamed after the verdict, according to footage shown on Al-Jazeera television which also showed security men scuffling with relatives and another woman being manhandled.
  
Dozens of relatives, many carrying photographs of their dead loved ones, were crammed into the court building, although the heavy security presence prevented them from entering the courtroom itself.
  
Others wailed in grief on the steps outside. "God help us, 1,034 people are dead!" shouted one man.
  
Most of the victims were from poor families in southern Egypt, and the court scenes were reminiscent of the emotional outpourings in the days following the sinking as anxious relatives waited in vain for bodies to be recovered.
  
"The day of the accident everybody saw that the ship was in bad shape and two years later they say the boat was in good shape. It doesn't make sense," one man told Al-Jazeera.
  
"This is awful. My wife and children died and after two years everyone responsible is found to be innocent," he said, slamming some of the defendants for leaving the country pending the court's ruling.
  
The court found that Gomaa had failed to show "compassion" and "did not do his duty by failing to go to the rescue of victims."
  
The Saint Catherine captain was also fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (1,880 dollars) at the end of the long-running trial.
  
Main defendant Mamduh Ismail who owned the 36-year-old Al-Salam and is a member of parliament's upper house which is appointed by President Hosni Mubarak, was acquitted.
  
In June 2006, Ismail was ordered to pay 330 million Egyptian pounds (57 million dollars) into a fund to compensate victims of the disaster and in return, a freeze on his assets was lifted.
  
Also accused were Ismail's son and three Al-Salam executives. Ismail, his son and one of the executives are not currently in Egypt.
  
In 2006, a parliamentary commission of inquiry blamed Al-Salam for the disaster, saying the firm had continued to operate the ferry "despite serious defects" in the vessel.
  
It also said the government "failed to manage the crisis adequately" in the days after the sinking.
  
Ismail had denied responsibility for the disaster, and blamed the captain of the Al-Salam 98, who went down with his ship, for overestimating the crew's ability to fight a fire that had broken out on board.
  
The passengers on the ferry were mostly Egyptian migrant workers, some of whom were bringing months', if not years', worth of savings to their families back home.

Date created : 2008-07-27

Comments

COMMENT(S)