Egyptian cruise ship disappears from radar 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 today.

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 Duba, western Saudi Arabia, at 7pm local time last night, the maritime officials in Suez said.

Egyptian maritime officials say lifeboats containing people have been spotted in vicinity of where cruise liner was last seen on radar.

The ship was due to have arrived at Egypt’s southern port of Safaga at 3am 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 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.

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