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Bahrain says sunk boat was not licensed for sailing

Written by: Staff

Dubai, Apr 2: A Bahraini cruise boat that capsized off Bahrain's coast killing at least 57 people was not licensed to sail, an official said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Colonel Tareq Al-Hassan told reporters late yesterday that the ship's owner had applied for a license but never completed the procedures.

''The owner of the ship had applied for a license in December 2005. He was asked to meet the regulations, the conditions, and he was given a list of regulations that were required,'' Hassan said.

''He went away to complete the regulations but never came back to be licensed. So the ship is not licensed to be a sailing ship but it is registered as a fishing boat,'' Hassan said.

At least 57 people died, when their twin-decked boat went down late last Thursday. The boat trip was sponsored by companies involved in a major construction project in Bahrain including South African construction firm Murray&Roberts, its local partner Nass and subcontractors.

Authorities have detained the boat's captain for questioning after concerns arose about his qualifications and whether the boat was overloaded.

Officials have said 126 people were believed to have been on board. Tourism sources said the vessel had a capacity of 100.


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