Libya will reportedly provide financial assistance to the families of those killed in the sinking of Egyptian ferry Al Salaam 98 last Friday, which took the lives of over 1,000 passengers. The Libyan aid will be contributed to an Egyptian fund for the victims' families.
The announcement came from the coordinator of Libyan-Egyptian ties Ahmed Gaddaf El Dam who met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarrak.
Gaddaf reportedly delivered a message of condolence from Libyan President Colonel Muammar Qaddafi during the meeting, according to MENA. "We are in continual contact with the Egyptian side," El Dam told reporters.
Ship's captain said he tried to avoid double sea disaster
In other developments, the captain of a ship who failed to respond to distress calls from the sinking Al Salaam 98 explained that he did so in fear of jeopardizing the lives of the passengers of his own ship in extremely rough waters.
Salah Gomaa, captain of the Saint Catherine ferry, owned by the same company as the fated Al Salaam, said that returning to investigate the calls of the capsized ship would have meant traveling knowingly into strong winds, high waves and other dangerous weather conditions.
Gomaa explained that he immediately called on other ships in the area who might have been closer to the Al Salaam to help.
"I took the decision not to return to protect 1,800 passengers who were with me on the Saint Catherine for fear of capsizing the ferry while turning," he told Al-Ahram.
"It is possible there could have been two disasters and the Saint Catherine would also have been capsized," he added.