Egyptian court jails captains of Nile boats involved in deadly collision

Al-Warraq Misdemeanour Court on Saturday jailed the captains of two ships, which collided on the Nile in July, killing 40 people, to between five and seven years in jail.

A number of the cruise boat passengers who died in the accident, which occurred on the Nile river in Cairo, near Warraq Island, were children.

The captain of the Nile cruise boat received a seven-year prison sentence on Saturday, while the captain of the cargo ship it collided with received five years in prison.

The owner of the cruise boat, who was tried in absentia, received a ten-year sentence.

According to the Egyptian penal code, those who are tried in absentia receive the maximum sentence allowable.

The convictions can still be appealed, while the ship owner may appeal his conviction if he surrenders himself to authorities.

The men were charged with causing the deaths of the victims, operating an unlicensed boat, and sailing on the Nile river at night, which is against the law.

Boat accidents are not uncommon on the Nile or off Egypt’s coast. They are often blamed on rickety crafts or loose enforcement of water traffic laws.

The country’s deadliest maritime accident occurred in February 2006 when a ferry sank in the Red Sea, killing more than 1,000 people.

source: Ahram Online