Friday, February 22, 2008

The case of the disappearing ship

Start the music from The Twilight Zone as there's another mystery of the sea reported as Egypt's own X-file:
Egypt's missing cargo ship Badr 1 was supposed to reach Sudan more than 20 days ago, but it never made it. Badr 1 was reported missing in the Red Sea by the end of last month although it disappeared from sight and from radar screens only three days after its departure on 9 January while heading to Port Sudan from the Suez Canal, an almost 800-mile trip which normally lasts just a few days. Neither Egyptian nor Sudanese authorities have been able to locate the vessel since.

Most authorities concerned and government officials state that Badr 1 has yet to be found. Some people, though, claim they know something others don't.

The ship's owner, for example, insinuates that Badr 1 had been seized for ransom and that international intervention by the United Nations might be needed to end the crisis.
Ship owner Ashraf Farag told Al-Ahram Weekly that the ship was found stalled and immobile 70 miles away off Port Sudan shores on 15 February, and that a tugboat had been sent to pull it to the safety of Sudanese shores for repairs.

The ship's fuel, according to Farag, had been mixed with water, thus affecting its performance. "The ship will appear within the next few days," Farag said confidently but without explaining why. "It did not sink and its 14 crew members are safe." He said he believed the lack of mutual contact with the ship was due to an excessive amount of static which impaired the ship's transmitting devices. Such faulty transmission prevented the GPS device (akin to a jet plane's black box) and SOS signals from working, thus causing a total loss of transmission. "This explains why the ship's captain was unable to send or receive messages to and from any of the concerned authorities," argued Farag. "Further details on the ship's whereabouts during the past weeks are currently being kept secret to preserve the safety of the ship as well as its crew," he said.
Badr 1 had enough food supplies and water to last for two months. It has been missing for 43 days.

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