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Red Sea dive-boat Exocet sank after holing on reef


The Red Sea liveaboard Exocet
The Red Sea liveaboard Exocet

“Managing visits to dive-sites in the Red Sea depends on the experience of the crews and their knowledge of the nature of the coasts, areas where coral reefs are located, and sailing routes,” stated Egypt’s environment minister Yasmine Fouad, after reviewing a preliminary report she had ordered into the sinking of the dive liveaboard Exocet near Marsa Alam on Tuesday evening (25 June).

Her ministry had appointed a committee of specialists to determine the cause of the incident and to evaluate the extent of damage to coral reef in the Sataya area south-east of Marsa Alam.

Initial investigations by the Red Sea Protected Areas team, including interviews with Exocet’s guests and crew, indicated that the hull of the 40m vessel had been breached amid conditions of high waves, causing it to flood.

The Egyptian Coast Guard and nearby vessels had responded to Exocet’s emergency calls after it had been holed, and all of its mainly French passengers and crew had been evacuated and taken back to Marsa Alam, with no reports of any injuries.

The four-deck vessel, built in Egypt in 2009 and renovated in 2015, had capacity for 24 guests in 12 cabins.

The impact of the sinking on a section of coral reef is still being assessed. The Exocet was reported to have drifted semi-submerged for several hours before waves and current pushed it to its eventual sinking-place, said to be more than 2km from coral-reef areas.

“The situation is tough for us who loved our beautiful boat so much,” stated operator Diving Attitude, which has two other liveaboards in its fleet, “but for the entire team, the overriding feeling is a great relief to know that all the people present on Exocet were quickly evacuated and returned safely to Marsa Alam.”

Also read: Egyptian dayboat runs aground, Red Sea liveaboard Whirlwind hits pinnacle, ends up on sandbank in lagoon

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