Safaga Misdemeanor Court released the owner of Al Salam ship and others

July 28th, 2008 by Editor

Safaga Misdemeanor Court released the owner of “Al Salam ship 98” and his son and three others from the charge of sinking about 1033 persons in the Red Sea during the voyage from “Deba” seaport to “Safaga” seaport in February 2006 in the case of “Al Salam ship 98 “ . Salah Goma ,captain of Saint Catherine ship( a ship that subsidiary to the same company) , was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment due to his refusal to stop and save the drowned persons despite his passing through them at the beginning of the disaster .

 

 The Public Prosecution accused both of Mamdouh Ismail, chairman of the board of “Al Salam Company for  Navigation Transport” and his son Amr Mamdouh Ismail, vice-chairman of the board and Mamdouh Orabi and Imad Abu Talib, fleet managers , Nabil Shalabi ,company branch manager at Safaga, Salah Goma , captain of Saint Catherine ship ,of manslaughter crime . The court found that the evidences brought by the Prosecution were not enough to convict defendants as follows:

 

 

1-     The Public Prosecution investigations submitted to the court lacked to some testimony witness included  in the prove evidences list .

2-     The testimonies of both Alaa Mohammed Abdel Latif and Fayez Abdul Radi Osman ( even if these testimonies confirm deaths and injuries during the period from the ship sinking until its deliverance ) don’t state positively that defendants were aware of the crisis .

3-      The court reviewed the reports of forensic medicine related to the  drowned corpses and makes sure that these reports didn’t determine the time of death in the period between the ship sinking and salvation .

4-     The medical reports enclosed with the papers of saved persons confirmed that their injuries are just sporadic bruises and sore throat as a result of fatigue not duo to the postponement of pulling them out of water.

5-     The court is sure that the rescue  center knew the ship sinking before the defendants then the legal responsibility is not falling upon the defendants who are not responsible for the postponement of the rescue center in responding to the call for help .

6-     The court believes that ( according to the report of the formed committee ) informing the rescue center is the not the responsibility of any defendant .

7-     There is no evidence for the court that the two ships ( Alenora and Fares Al Salam ) which carry  Saudi Arabia flag belong to the first or the second defendant besides the testimony of technician committee chairman before the court who confirmed that Al Salam company can’t oblige any foreign ship to participate in the rescuing process .

8-     The court is sure that when the second defendant ( as a vice chairman of the board ) informed with the ship sinking , he didn’t lag behind to ask for help from outside .

9-     The court doubts that the sixth defendant informed Saudi Arabia authority with the sinking ship  at 2:00 am on the morning of the accident .So the court rejected this evidence as it is not sure of its credibility .

10-      The non –informing of the sinking ship during the period from 2:30 until 4:30 on the morning of the accident day can’t  prevent any harm that may exist during that period  ,so The court disprove the charge of negligence issued against the fifth defendant .

11-      The court doesn’t admit the testimonies stipulated in the investigations that there are such deaths or injuries as a result of defendants negligence during the period mentioned .

 

 Judge, Abdul Megid Mahmoud ,Attorney General , decided to appeal on the issued decision as it is inconsistent with papers of the case .  Discharge reasons showed  that papers lacked to some testimony witness included  in the prove evidences list .This reason is inconsistent with the papers of the case as the testimonies are stipulated in the investigations  .

 

  The court leaned that the first and second defendant don’t  possess the two ships ( Alenora and Fares Al Salam ) and the company can’t oblige any foreign ship to participate in the rescuing process .On the contrary , the first and second defendants are the maritime agent for these ships which their movement depend on their instructions .

 

 Also decision reasons stated that the legal medical reports didn’t determine the actual time of death while these reports indicated that all cases of death are a result from drowning .

 

 The court mentioned in its decision reasons that the medical reports of the saved persons confirm that their injuries are not duo to the postponement of pulling them out of water while the investigations and medical reports  indicated that all injuries are duo to the accident and the postponement of deliverance .

 

 

Also the decision disproved the responsibility of defendants according to the report of Fact Finding Mission that the machines of the National Company for Navigation received 5 appeals for help from the control center at Algeria and these signals were registered automatically ,while the papers confirmed that this center didn’t know any information about these signals before 9:00 on the morning of Sunday .

 

It is noteworthy that the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights had already issued a report entitled “Black corruption and red sea with  victims blood,” after sending a fact finding mission from 5-7 February 2006 and met with some eyewitnesses of the saved persons and heard the complaints of victims families and testimonies of officials  .EOHR recommended the following :

 

1-     Issuing a law to amend Law No. 232 of 1989 on the safety of ships to amend articles (from 20 to 25)related to penalties in order to  toughen these penalties to be  consistent with the nature of the offence.

2-     Issuing a law to amend the Navy Trade Law No. 80 of 1990 related to the responsibility of carrier , also to consider compensations according to Athens Convention 1974 on transferring passengers .

3-     Issuing a law to establish an independent council to manage crisis , it includes a group of consultants in all majors related to  natural or humanitarian disasters and to assign an independent  budget  and to prevent  submission to any ministry .

 

 EOHR welcomes the appeal decision taken by the Egyptian Attorney General .It declares that it will join the defense team for victims by preparing a team of lawyers headed by the Secretary General.

 

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