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Diving Suspended in Sharm El Sheikh due to shark Attack

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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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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.

 

Alex

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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

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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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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.

 

Alex

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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.

 

Paul C

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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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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...

post-22909-1291239285.jpg

 

Duncan

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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

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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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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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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

 

:D

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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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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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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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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/forums/index.php?showtopic=32773&hl= )

Edited by Timmoranuk

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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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Best Darwin award moment at 6.00, with 2 sharks in the water, scuba diver without fins but BCD on surface swimming to where?

 

I think that you can boost that score: all that white northern flesh under the Egyptian ultraviolet must be worth something...

 

Tim

 

:D

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Just in from HEPCA:

 

Shark incident off Southern Sinai

 

Short summary of the events:

On November 30th, 2010, two snorkelers were attacked by a shark off a beach just north of Naama Bay, both suffering serious injuries. Photographs taken minutes before the 2nd attack show a fully grown oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), that closely circled divers before approaching and eventually attacking a swimmer on the surface.

On December 1st, 2010, a third swimmer was attacked just a few kilometres north of the previous incidents; no photographic material is available from this event.

Reports of a fourth attack were later corrected, stating that the injuries to the hands of the swimmer involved were sustained by contact with corals rather than from the bites of a shark.

 

As a first response, the Ministry of Tourism suspended all water activities for the Sharm El Sheikh area, with the exception of Ras Mohamed National Park, until the evening of December 3rd, 2010.

Additionally, National Park Authorities attempted to capture the shark(s) believed to be involved in the attacks. As a result, two individual sharks were caught on December 2nd, one mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) and one oceanic whitetip shark.

 

Comparing the photographs of the oceanic whitetip shark responsible for the 2nd attack with the images of the captured oceanic whitetip shark, it is clear that they don't show the same individual.

 

Hesham Gabr, the chairman of the CDWS (Chamber of Diving and Watersports), has condemned the random catching of sharks in the area. In agreement with HEPCA, both organisations would have preferred a more graded response to the unfortunate events. No attacks on divers have been reported from any of the dive sites in the Egyptian Red Sea, making the closure of all diving activities an unnecessary and extreme measure. While we fully appreciate the difficult and sensitive situation after such an unusual string of attacks for the tourism sector, the random catching and killing of large oceanic sharks in the area does not help to mitigate the problem; additionally it sends the wrong message that people entering the water are generally in danger of being attacked by sharks.

Such attacks are extremely rare and in the past have often been connected to illegal fishing and feeding activities.

We therefore welcome the efforts of the CDWS today, sending out volunteering dive professionals and registered CDWS members to monitor and observe the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites for any shark activity. These divers were encouraged to document any shark sightings by taking underwater images, so that we will be able to verify and potentially identify any oceanic whitetip sharks still present in the area.

 

According to an ongoing study of oceanic whitetip sharks in the Egyptian Red Sea, only 11 individuals resembling the size and proportion of the shark responsible for the 2nd attack have been documented throughout the last 6 years. All these sightings were from remote areas such as Daedalus, Brother Islands or the St. Johns plateau. 10 of these sharks were photographed by divers only on one occasion, and – to our knowledge – did not approach any humans or human activity afterwards.

These observations support the idea, that the string of attacks is the result of a single individual behaving in a highly atypical way.

 

Both HEPCA and CDWS call for calm in this unprecented and difficult situation, and appeal to tourists and professionals to follow well-known behavioural guidelines recommended in areas where sharks might be present.

· Do not fish, feed or bait any marine animal. Do not enter the water if any of these activities occur in the vicinity.

· Stay calm! Avoid any quick, jerky or erratic movements.

· If you want or need to leave the water for any reason, do so in a calm and orderly fashion.

For more detailed guidelines on diving with sharks in the Egyptian Red Sea, feel free to contact sharks@hepca.com.

 

According to latest information, all restrictions on diving and other water activities in the Sharm El Sheikh area have been lifted, and operations will be back to normal tomorrow morning (saturday, December 4th).

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A haunted house?

typical reaction for out here.....lets just fish anything out and kill it!!!!!

 

very very sad......

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So much for relocation.....

 

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

 

Adam

 

Oops-Amity Island!

 

Adam

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