CAIRO: Conflicting reports have arisen over the fate of the Egyptian Badr 1 ship which disappeared last month with government officials claiming it is yet to be found and the ship owner insinuating that it has been seized for ransom.
Ship owner Ahsraf Farag told local press that the ship would appear “within hours , that it hadn’t sunk and that its 14 crew members were safe.
However, even the local press carried different comments for Farag.
Al-Wafd reported that Farag was currently negotiating with the party holding the ship to secure its release but he did not disclose the identity of those who allegedly seized it.
The newspaper itself inferred that there was a distinct possibility that multinational forces in Africa had taken possession of the ship under suspicion that it might have been transporting weapons to rebels in Chad.
The ship had departed the Suez Canal on Jan. 9 heading towards Port Sudan carrying a little under two tons of cement, steel and paint supplies. It carried a crew of 9 Egyptians, 4 Sudanese and one Yemeni national.
The last contact with the ship’s captain was on Jan. 12 and it is not known where on the 1,280 km route the ship disappeared.
Farag reportedly told Al-Akhbar that he received information confirming the safety of the ship and crew and that although he had no information about the ship for weeks, he doubts that it had sunk.
However, the Minister of Transport Mohamed Mansour had declared that the whereabouts of the ship was as of yet still unknown.
Sources at the Ministry of Transport told Daily News Egypt that they did not have any information on the whereabouts of the ship or indeed whether there were any updates in that regard.
Badr 1 was built in 1960 and is owned by the Afro-Asian shipping company. It had undergone a complete engine overhaul days before it set off.