Hotels in the Red Sea resorts of Egypt will increase security measures in beach areas in light of the latest incidents with sharks. What will be done, and why is the attack of marine predators still an exception?
Egyptian authorities have announced measures being taken to protect tourists off the Red Sea coast after the attack of sharks, as a result killed two foreign nationals.
The incidents took place over the course of one day (July 2) near the resort of Sahl Hasheesh, located south of Hurghada. An investigation is underway. According to preliminary information, the mako shark, which lives in deep waters, became the culprit of the tragedy. This is a huge (3-5 meters) and very fast fish.
The killer shark has not yet been caught, but after July 2, there were no incidents with sharks on the coast of Egypt.
WHICH BEACHES IN HURGHADA ARE CLOSED FOR TOURISTS
Until July 15, in the Red Sea province in the sea a zone stretching from El Gouna in the north to Cape Abu Soma in the south, a ban on all maritime activities, including fishing and diving for those who do not have the appropriate licenses.
There is a ban on diving alone. Only under the supervision of experienced instructors (1 guide for every 10 people) is it possible to snorkel on coral reefs inside the lagoons.
According to the information of the host company TEZ TOUR, as of July 7, all beaches in Sahl Hasheesh were closed, with the exception of at Albatros Citadel, where you can swim in the lagoon.
In the resorts of Makadi, Soma Bay, Safaga, all hotel beaches, except Sunrise Tucana Resort, work as usual.
In Hurghada, the beaches of the Bel Air Azur Beach Resort, Titanic Beach Spa & Aqua Park, Titanic Palace were temporarily closed.
EGYPTIAN HOTELS RECEIVED A CIRCULATOR DEMANDING STRENGTHEN SECURITY AT THE SEA
At the end of last week, all resort hotels in the provinces of the Red Sea (Hurghada, Marsa Alam, El Gouna and Safaga) and South Sinai (Sharm- el-Sheikh, Dahab, Taba) received a circular ordering to strengthen the security and control procedures for activities related to swimming, diving and snorkeling in the coastal zone.
Among other things, hotels should avoid any activity that attracts sharks and other fish that can threaten the lives of tourists.
It is mandatory for hotels to warn guests about the prohibition of throwing any food waste or food leftovers into the water for the purpose of feeding the fish, as this leads to the accumulation of a large number of fish and can attract sharks.
Adequate signs should be installed on the beaches and pontoons. Under a categorical ban and fishing on hotel beaches.
Areas where vacationers can swim should also be clearly marked with buoys. All hotel beaches must have first aid equipment and trained lifeguards to promptly assist tourists.
If a shark appears in the coastal zone, appropriate warning signs should be installed on the beach area and a categorical ban on swimming should be introduced.
SHARK ATTACKS ARE RARE IN EGYPT
Shark attacks in Egypt are rare, as evidenced by international statistics. In the first 6 months of 2022, there were 39 such incidents in the world, most of which were recorded off the coast of the United States and Australia. Six cases, including the last two in Hurghada, have been fatal.
The situation with sharks in the Red Sea was also commented on by Israeli expert on marine predators Zemach Shamir. According to him, shark attacks in general and in the Red Sea in particular are extremely rare, and jellyfish kill more people every year than sharks. Of the approximately 500 species of sharks worldwide, 44 species are found in the Red Sea, of which only a few are of potential danger.
“Thousands of people dive into the sea every day, many of them come specifically to see sharks, and nothing happens because the food source of sharks is fish, not humans,” says Zemakh Shamir.
The expert also explains that large sharks, such as mako and tiger sharks, prefer deep waters to shallow waters, and do not approach beaches if there is no food. But if there is bait in coastal waters (fishing lures, baited schools of fish, etc.), then sharks can come close to the shore.
Therefore, the Israeli expert summarizes, the situation with sharks in coastal waters almost entirely depends on people, including tourists themselves, whose careless or thoughtless actions in baiting fish can attract predators.
SHARKS ATTRACTED NOT FISH BUT SHEEP?
There is another version associated with the unintentional “baiting” of sharks by people and their current attacks. Now it is not well known, but it was discussed in early July by both the Western and Russian press.
A little less than a month ago, a cargo ship with 16,000 sheep sank in the Red Sea off the coast of South Sudan, which were being taken to Saudi Arabia for the holiday Eid al-Adha. The ship was caught in a storm and capsized, all the animals drowned.
It happened 966 km from Hurghada, but the current carried the carcasses of the sheep across the Red Sea, and this could attract mako sharks that rarely swim into these waters. If this version is correct, then until there is nothing left of the sheep, and the sharks do not “forget” that there is a harvest off the coast, it will be dangerous for some more time (probably not for long).
It is interesting that the version that it is sheep carcasses thrown from ships into the water that become the “trigger” for shark attacks on people in the Red Sea was supported by foreign media back in 2010 in connection with the then high-profile incidents.