Egyptian cruise ship disappears in Red Sea

An Egyptian cruise ship with 1,300 people on board has disappeared from radar screens in the Red Sea off the Saudi coast, Egyptian maritime officials said Friday. Saudi and Egyptian naval vessels and helicopters are conducting a search for the ship, "Salaam 98," which disappeared from radar screens shortly after sailing from the port of Dubah, western Saudi Arabia, at 7 p.m. local time on Thursday night, the maritime officials in Suez said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The ship was due to have arrived at Egypt's southern port of Safaga at 3 a.m. local time, but did not, the officials added.

"We lost all contact with the ship shortly after it left the Saudi port," said one maritime official at Suez. Its last position on the radar screens was 62 miles from Dubah.

The ship is owned the Egyptian company El-Salaam Maritime Transport Co. and was carrying 1,300 passengers, the official added. Some of the passengers are believed to be pilgrims returning from the annual hajj to Mecca, which ended last month, reports the AP.


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