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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 February 2006, 16:04 GMT
Tensions high at Egypt ferry port
A distraught relative is comforted at Safaga, Egypt

Tensions are high among the families of some of the 1,400 passengers who were on board an Egyptian ferry that sank in the Red Sea on Friday.

Relatives stormed the dock area in the port town of Safaga as rescuers continued to search for around 800 passengers still missing.

Several hundred relatives also gathered at a morgue in Cairo where some 68 bodies were expected to be brought.

More survivors were found on Sunday, including a five-year-old boy.

If you don't have the bodies, at least give us (death) certificates and let us go. You have been torturing us for days
Heshmat Mohammed Hassan
Relative

Police say more than 400 survivors have now been rescued, and 195 bodies recovered.

A senior police officer in Safaga was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying 67 survivors were pulled from the waters overnight, although this has not been officially confirmed.

Earlier in Safaga, a list of the first 30 identified bodies were read out and soldiers handed around photos of victims in an attempt to identify them.

But the families, many of whom had spent a third night at the port where the ferry had been due to dock, complain they have received little information about their loved ones.

Little consolation

The BBC's Ian Pannell says he was besieged by relatives holding up photographs of missing relatives and imploring him for information when he arrived on Sunday.

Some directed their anger at the Egyptian authorities, including President Hosni Mubarak.

"Down with the interior ministry, down with Mubarak," they chanted.

Riot police deployed at Safaga, Egypt
Riot police were deployed at Safaga as frustrations boiled over
"If you don't have the bodies, at least give us (death) certificates and let us go. You have been torturing us for days," Heshmat Mohammed Hassan from Sohag, whose brother is still missing, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

The government's offer of $5,000 (2,837) to every family was of little consolation.

One man angrily asked: "Is this what an Egyptian's life is worth?"

Riot police were deployed at the port on Saturday as clashes broke out.

Details emerge

Relatives' anger has grown as more details have been released about what happened to the ship, our correspondent says.

The rescue mission is reported to have been launched several hours after the ferry sank.

And the crew are accused of ignoring warnings to evacuate after the fire broke out on board and the ship began to list.

One survivor told the BBC the alarm system was not working. Others say there were not enough lifeboats and lifejackets for all the passengers.

The fire broke out on the 35-year-old al-Salam Boccaccio '98 ferry soon after it left the Saudi Arabia port of Duba for Safaga on Thursday evening.

Most of the passengers were Egyptians working in Saudi Arabia, but some were said to be pilgrims returning from Mecca.

The owners of the ferry, the Al-Salam Maritime Transport Company, said the ship had complied with all international safety standards.

Weather conditions have hampered the rescue operation, with high winds and choppy seas.




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