The Administrative Prosecution referred two municipality officials in Kafr El-Sheikh to urgent trial Tuesday over the ferry crisis that killed 17 people in December.
Head of the river navigation authority in the municipality of Fouh city and head of the navigation and navigational licenses unit in the same municipality will stand trial, facing charges of negligence that led to the accident.
On 31 December, a Nile boat that had a maximum capacity of eight passengers, according to its licence, sailed from Sendeon village, carrying over three times its capacity, before it sank and killed 17 passengers.
Head of the Administrative Prosecution Sameh Kamal ordered an immediate investigation into the case following the incident, suspecting a possible “act of negligence”.
The prosecution also filed a memorandum to the Ministry of Interior Tuesday with the findings of the investigation “to run its procedure on what has been reported as negligence from the officials of the maritime police”.
The accident reopened the controversial issue of the “ferries of death”, titled as such for being the site of numerous fatal incidents on the Nile. The ferries connect the two banks of the Nile and offer transportation, especially in villages, to those wanting to cross to the other side, including students, patients, employees, and traders.
Most of the accidents occur due to the overload of passengers, who use the ferry despite the lack of safety, due to an absence of alternative transportation. Under the current law, the maximum punishment is an EGP 100 fine for operating a boat without a licence or carrying goods or passengers that go above the specified passenger limit.
Some 35 people were killed when a barge collided with a cruise boat in July 2015, which sank the smaller boat in the area of Warraq in Giza. Around 40 government officials are currently standing trial on charges of negligence.