Red Sea ferry: IMO provides assistance to casualty investigators

With respect to the ongoing investigation into the al-Salam Boccaccio 98 ferry disaster in the Red Sea on 3 February 2006, IMO wishes to clarify the following.

Soon after the accident, IMO responded to a request for assistance in the investigation of the casualty from both the Governments of Egypt and Panama, by making available two independent consultants to provide technical advice to the casualty investigation board established jointly by the two Governments.

M. Jean-Charles Leclair, of France, was appointed to provide advice on procedures for casualty investigation under SOLAS regulation I/21 (Casualties) and IMO Resolutions A.849(20) and A.884(21) (respectively the Code for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents and amendments thereto), as well as on safety of navigation, radiocommunications and search and rescue, as appropriate. This task is currently underway and is expected to be completed by 24 February 2006.

Mr Mike Travis, of the United Kingdom's Marine Accident Investigation Branch, was appointed to advise on the location and recovery of evidence from the wreck, specifically the voyage data recorder, a task which has now been successfully completed.

In the longer term, again in response to a request from the Government of Egypt, IMO will provide another independent consultant, Mr Tom Allan (until recently the Chairman of IMO's Maritime Safety Committee), to provide technical advice and support to the Egyptian Ministry of Transport on the safety standards related to passenger ships, in particular on the resources and procedures in place for the conduct of inspections of safety-related systems and equipment for stability, fire protection, life-saving appliances and safety of navigation; survey and certification under the relevant provisions of SOLAS Chapter I; and verification and compliance with requirements related to the STCW Convention and the ISM Code. He will also advise on existing crisis management systems and procedures, particularly those that should be put in place immediately following a maritime accident. Mr Allan's mission is entirely distinct and separate from the investigation into the casualty.

The actual conduct of the investigation into the cause of the loss of the al-Salam Boccaccio 98, which is being carried out by the casualty investigation board set up jointly by the Egyptian and Panamanian authorities. Mr. Leclair's and Mr. Travis' role is to provide independent technical advice. The report of the board is expected to be submitted to IMO in due course and no submissions relating to the incident are anticipated for consideration by IMO until that report, complete with conclusions and recommendations, is finalized.

All the three consultancies mentioned above have been provided through IMO's technical co-operation programme.

Briefing 06, 23 February 2006

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For further information please contact:
Lee Adamson, Head, Public Information Services on 020 7587 3153 (media@imo.org) or
Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (media@imo.org).