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Diving Suspended in Sharm El Sheikh due to shark Attack


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#1 stewsmith

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 04:39 AM

Just received the following from a dive centre in Egypt!!

No guessing where all the liveaboards still out in the water will be diving!!

CDWS has received instruction from the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) today at 1pm (1 December) that ALL diving and watersports activities in the Sharm el Sheikh area are to be suspended immediately, following reports of three shark attacks in the area.



The MoT announced that all beaches will be closed to the public and all watersports activities will be suspended until the end of the day tomorrow (2 December) across the whole of the Sharm el Sheikh coast. Diving boats already on sites at this present time are not required to return early from activities today (1 December). However, no more boats are allowed to leave from any of the jetties.



It has been reported that three Russian tourists have been attacked in three separate incidents in the last 24 hours in an area north of Naama Bay. The victims, one male and two females, are currently being treated in hospital.One of the injured is reported to be in a critical condition.



Officials from the South Sinai National Park have tracked down the shark in question - confirmed to be an adult oceanic white tip shark. The South Sinai National Park, led by head marine biologist Mohammed Salem, is currently attempting to capture the shark with the aim of releasing it back into the wild in a remote area in the Gulf of Suez. The chosen location will be in a safe distance from any tourist resorts in the Red Sea.

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#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 05:00 AM

Not heard anything about this story.
But I know that the was a oceanic at the Dunraven wreck a few days ago - which people were having decent encounters with.

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#3 Scubysnaps

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 06:31 AM

Jeez! I've just this minute got off the phone for a possible trip there over the New Year.
Hope its not as bad as it sounds
Cheers
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#4 Timmoranuk

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 07:02 AM

Just in from CDWS:

Press release
1 December 2010

CDWS statement on shark incident in Sharm el Sheikh

Egypt's Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) has today (1 December) been instructed
by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) that all diving and watersports activities are
to be suspended in Sharm el Sheikh, with the exception of the Ras Mohammed National
Park, following reports of three shark attacks.

Authorities informed the CDWS that three Russian tourists have been attacked in
three separate incidents in the last 24 hours in an area north of Naama Bay. The
victims, one male and two females, are currently being treated in hospital. One
of the injured is reported to be in a critical condition. All were snorkelling
at different times of the day on local reefs when the attacks happened. No names
have been officially released.

The MoT has instructed all beaches to be closed to the public and all diving and
watersports activities to be suspended until the end of the day tomorrow (2 December)
across the whole of the Sharm el Sheikh coast, with the exception of the Ras Mohammed
National Park.

Officials from the South Sinai National Park have tracked down the shark in question
- confirmed to be an adult oceanic white tip shark. The South Sinai National Park,
led by head marine biologist Mohammed Salem, is currently attempting to capture
the shark with the aim of releasing it back into the wild in a remote area in the
Gulf of Suez. The chosen location will be a safe distance from any tourist resorts
in the Red Sea.

CDWS is working together with officials and shark experts to determine the causes
behind such unusual behaviour, including possible indications of illegal fishing
or feeding in the area.

Appealing for calm, CDWS chairman Hesham Gabr underlined the extreme rarity of such
an incident, particularly in the Red Sea where around three million people each
year enjoy water activities without incident.

Mr Gabr said: 'We are monitoring the situation very closely and working together
with all authorities to ensure the safety of all members and visitors in the Red
Sea. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

'This is an extremely unusual incident. However, with such a frequency of attacks
in the last 24 hours, measures have been taken by the MoT to close the sea to give
teams working the sufficient time to track down and capture the shark safely.'

Richard Peirce, the chairman of the Shark Trust in the UK, confirmed that such behaviour
is extremely unusual and said it was highly likely this may have been provoked by
possible illegal fishing in the area.

Mr Pierce said: 'The Shark Trust understands that the animal thought to be responsible
for the attack in Sharm el Sheikh is an oceanic white tip shark. It is probable
that the tragic attacks were triggered by a specific activity or event, and the
Trust further understands that the Egyptian authorities are carrying out investigations.
Attacks on humans by sharks are extremely rare and this species would normally not
be found close to shore on bathing beaches. The Trust has been informed that a single
animal is thought to be responsible for all three incidents and that attempts are
being made to catch the shark.'

Figures from the International Shark File, which has a global database dating back
to 1580, show that there have only been nine reports of attacks by oceanic white
tip sharks on humans since records began. Of these attacks, five were registered
as 'unprovoked', three 'provoked' and only one fatal.

Press enquiries by email to Laura Coppa, PR co-ordinator on laura.coppa@cdws.travel
[mailto:laura.coppa@cdws.travel]
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#5 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 08:57 AM

I fear I am leaving a trail of devastation on my travels. I was in Sharm yesterday and now there is a diving ban. I was at Gatwick yesterday and now the airport is closed.

On a serious note, lets hope the three Russians make a full recovery. It is also encouraging that the Egyptian authorities hope to deal with the shark in a positive way too.

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#6 Drew

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 09:16 AM

Well the news is going crazy. AP reports 4 victims, including a grandmother who lost her limbs.
LATimes AP version
The BBC reports only 3 casualties.

Very confusing how they can mess up the number of casualties.

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#7 PRC

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:18 AM

Authorities are reported as suggesting a capture and (remote) release - how realistic is this? it is a laudable aim.

Does the longimanus roam over a large area or is it territorial ?

The common factor so far seems to be snorkelling - those who have spent any time with JASA will know Jimmy's thoughts on snorkelling with sharks.

Can you post your travel schedule Alex as I am supposed to be off to the far east on Friday (work not dive) and you are making me nervous.

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#8 SimonSpear

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:33 AM

Very bizarre incident(s). Very strange indeed.

#9 Drew

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 12:49 PM

Authorities are reported as suggesting a capture and (remote) release - how realistic is this? it is a laudable aim.

Does the longimanus roam over a large area or is it territorial ?

The common factor so far seems to be snorkelling.



The report is that 2 of the casualties were on scuba and the other 2 swimmers were inshore. As for C. Longimanus territory, I think with the trail of food from the shipping lane going to the Suez, the illegal chumming and fishing in the area, I'd say those sharks are outside the normal range of the species.

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#10 DuncanS

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:36 PM

The report is that 2 of the casualties were on scuba and the other 2 swimmers were inshore. As for C. Longimanus territory, I think with the trail of food from the shipping lane going to the Suez, the illegal chumming and fishing in the area, I'd say those sharks are outside the normal range of the species.

Out on safari and back towards Hurgarda so don't have too much info...will be back in Sharm in 2 days so will post anything I can find out.

I had a snorkel with an Oceanic at Dunraven yesterday (Had done a 90m trimix dive so wasn't about to go diving...) This is the chap I saw...
oceanic.jpg

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#11 stewsmith

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:02 AM

2 sharks have been caught and I am being told that one of them was an 8ft Mako, the other a 7ft OWT. The sharks were taken to Ras Mohammed Conservation Centre to be dissected to see if there were any human remains inside.

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#12 Drew

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:23 AM

AP report:

AP report link

BBC goes further about whether the sharks caught were the ones responsible for the bites:
BBC report

As usual, government/knee jerk reactors go out to hunt for a "killer" shark to show they are doing something. Now 2 sharks are dead, and the hunt continues for the "culprit" sharks.
My favorite quote:
"Usually these kinds of sharks don't attack human beings but sometimes they have trouble with their nervous system and they accidentally go after people!"
Mohammed Salem
Director of Sinai Conservation

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#13 Timmoranuk

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 09:06 AM

2 sharks have been caught and I am being told that one of them was an 8ft Mako, the other a 7ft OWT. The sharks were taken to Ras Mohammed Conservation Centre to be dissected to see if there were any human remains inside.

Stew


How desperately sad and indicative of a thoughtless, knee jerk response...
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#14 adamhanlon

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:42 AM

So much for relocation.....

It's all a bit Amityville isn't it.

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#15 tdpriest

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:54 AM

The Chinese whispers are now going exponential, I see. I expect a shark slaughter in the next week.

Can Drew explain his reasoning about food in the water around Sharm - it's the opposite side of Sinai to Suez!?

Tim

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#16 Drew

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:40 PM

The shipping lane dumping of waste/food in the Red Sea has long been theorized as the reason why the oceanics hang around in the area. It's just a matter of a few sharks following the wrong boat (liveaboard or fishing boat) as a food source into the Sharm area.
Oceanic white tips aren't inshore sharks, well at least what is known of their behavior. So for them to hit swimmers near the beach and also divers also means these are sharks which are probably accustomed to people.

It'd be interesting to tag the sharks further south near Marsa and see their movement patterns.

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#17 Timmoranuk

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 11:32 PM

The shipping lane dumping of waste/food in the Red Sea has long been theorized as the reason why the oceanics hang around in the area. It's just a matter of a few sharks following the wrong boat (liveaboard or fishing boat) as a food source into the Sharm area.
Oceanic white tips aren't inshore sharks, well at least what is known of their behavior. So for them to hit swimmers near the beach and also divers also means these are sharks which are probably accustomed to people.

It'd be interesting to tag the sharks further south near Marsa and see their movement patterns.


When I dive the offshore sites like The Brothers or Daedalus I'll often pass on the late morning deep dive (looking for hammerheads) and choose instead to lurk under the moored liveaboards. All the chefs are merrily preparing lunch for their guests and discharged food scraps draw the Oceanics nicely...
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#18 Drew

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 01:45 AM

That's an interesting topic on its own, Tim. I wonder how the white tips act nowadays vs say 10 years ago when there were fewer boats and divers. If all the accounts are accurate, it's one solitary shark responsible for all the bites. Apparently there are pictures of the shark, again according to the news reports.

Then again I'm wondering if the shark encounter was something similar to this:



Snorkeling without weight belts to stay vertical for better movement: Yum yum yellow and other bright colors... the list goes on. Best Darwin award moment at 6.00, with 2 sharks in the water, scuba diver without fins but BCD on surface swimming to where?
The issue is whether it was human induced encounter vs random feeding behavior.

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#19 Timmoranuk

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 04:09 AM

CJ and I were diving Elphinstone last year. We have identical dive kit except he was wearing all black Quattros while mine were yum-yum yellow and black. Who got chewed? CJ!! :D ( http://wetpixel.com/...topic=32773&hl= )

Edited by Timmoranuk, 03 December 2010 - 04:15 AM.

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#20 Bent C

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 07:44 AM

Snorkeling without weight belts to stay vertical for better movement: Yum yum yellow and other bright colors... the list goes on. Best Darwin award moment at 6.00, with 2 sharks in the water, scuba diver without fins but BCD on surface swimming to where?
The issue is whether it was human induced encounter vs random feeding behavior.


That is just amazing!! Incredible that no one got hurt. I was just waiting for a gush of blood from someone, but despite what I would say was extremely determined enticing of the people in the video to get the sharks to bite, nothing really happens. That was a couple of really hardprovoked sharks! Incredible and just horrible to watch.
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