ISMAILIA: An Egyptian dredger sank in the Suez Canal on Wednesday, killing two of the 45 crew and prompting a brief closure of the busy international waterway as rescuers searched for two others, officials said. The two missing crew were feared dead, Suez Canal Authority sources said. The other 41 had been rescued, including six who were injured in the accident near the town of Ismailia. Both dead crew members drowned, the sources said. A Canal Authority official said a technical fault was the apparent cause of the sinking in the waterway, an important international trade route and the fastest shipping link between Europe and Asia.
It is too early to tell. The picture is still not clear, Suez Canal Authority chairman Mahmoud Abdel Wahab told AFP, denying earlier reports of collision with another ship. A team of divers from the Suez Canal Authority is currently examining the area of the sinking to determine the best way to remove the ship, he told the official MENA news agency. Authorities said the canal was closed for an hour after the accident but shipping traffic had since been diverted to the waterway s western channel and was flowing normally. The eastern channel remained closed. The waterway has not been affected and traffic is moving completely normally, Yussri Abul Naga, an engineer with the Canal Authority told Egyptian television.
The sinking was the latest in a string of deadly Egyptian transport accidents. Last month, 58 people were killed in the Nile Delta town of Qalyoub when two commuter trains collided in Egypt s worst railway accident in four years. A day later, 11 Israeli Arab tourists were killed in a bus accident in the Sinai Peninsula. More than 1,000 people were killed in February when a ferry sank in the Red Sea. Investigations primarily blamed the captain, who went missing after the ferry sank and is presumed dead, of not following safety procedures but public rage was directed at the ferry owner, a member of parliament. The Suez Canal is a major source of foreign exchange earnings for the Egyptian government. Egypt nationalized the waterway in 1956.
Ships travel through the canal in three daily convoys in both directions, making up seven percent of global maritime transport. Agencies