Last night while attempting to leave the office to collect some equipment left onboard the Red Sea Defender from the last expedition, my mobile rang. Amr was calling me. “Hello Mudeer (boss in Egyptian).” No time for catching up, he asked straight away; “Where is the boat moored? New Marina or the Sheraton?” I knew two things: that the boat was moored just off the Sheraton and that he was not going to like this answer. I could never have imagined how much panic my response could bring. “Ah! There are boats on fire at the Sheraton! I’ll call you back.” Less than 20 seconds on the phone, we felt more than 20 years of our lives lost. Do not panic. Do NOT panic. Ten minutes later the HEPCA team was at the jetty panicking. None of our contacts (two actually) knew anything about the boat and Amr had not called back. The view was spectacular. Three boats hundred meters off the Sheraton were sparkling flames in the darkness of the night. While all the HEPCA team was unsuccessfully looking for the boat in order to relax, Osam, our dive guide, called Madda back, “The boat is safe, the captain is moving it right now”. Breathing again, we stayed and enjoyed the terrific show that was going on. Apparently one boat moored at the jetty had caught fire and the crew cut the ropes to prevent the next wooden boat from bursting into flames. The drifting waltz began. The result was that the drifting platform in flames struck two other daily boats supposedly safely moored offshore. Although the Navy, the police and the firemen were there, nothing could be done besides waiting and being ready to intervene if the flames started towards the coastline. Within a few hours the boats and flames disappeared in the sea.
Amina (HEPCA Team)