2 maritime officials referred to trial over role in deadly boat capsizing

Egypt administrative prosecutors referred two maritime officials to trial for their role in a September capsizing of a migrant boat that lead to the death of around 200 people, state owned MENA agency reported on Saturday.

According to MENA, the decision to refer the two unnamed officials came following investigations by the prosecution to identify those responsible for the capsizing of the boat, which was carrying around 450 people when it sunk close to Rasheed, a city on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

The investigations revealed that the licence of the fishing boat in question had expired in March, with it then extended by the maritime inspection officials in Damietta until 12 May.

The prosecution charged the two Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety inspectors with collaborating with the boat’s captain to give a green light to the boat’s sailing without a licence through procedures within their authority.

In recent years, thousands of migrants and refugees from a variety of countries have attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, with an increasing number departing via smugglers’ boats from Egypt’s northern coast.

In November, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ratified a law aimed at curbing irregular migration and cracking down on human smuggling.

While the legislation does not punish the migrants themselves, it imposes jail terms on those convicted of smuggling migrants or acting as brokers or facilitators.

Source: Ahram Online

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