CAIRO Dec 3 Egypt has referred two maritime
inspection officials to trial for their role in the capsizing of
a migrant ship that led to the death of over 200 earlier this
year, state news agency MENA reported on Saturday.
A boat carrying about 450 people capsized off Egypt's
northern coast in September. Some 202 bodies were subsequently
recovered from the sea and 169 people rescued.
The largest Arab nation has said it is committed to
developing a strategy to combat what has turned into a growing
smuggling industry along its northern seaboard. It passed a law
in October aimed at curbing human trafficking.
Egyptian authorities arrested four crew members just after
the boat capsized in September and opened an investigation.
MENA said prosecutors ordered two inspection officials at
the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety - a government agency
- to trial after their investigation concluded that the
inspectors colluded with the ship's captain to allow it to
operate without a valid license.
The officials were not named.
A growing number of migrants have tried to cross to Italy
from the African coast, particularly from Libya, where
people-traffickers operate with relative impunity. But boats
have increasingly departed from Egypt.
(Reporting by Mostafa Hashem and Amina Ismail; Writing by Eric
Knecht; Editing by Clelia Oziel)