MANAMA: A dhow which capsized off Bahrain, killing at least 57 people, was not licensed to sail, it was revealed last night.
The Al Dana was licensed only as a first-class floating restaurant, which should never have left the jetty, said Coastguard director Colonel Yousif Al Ghatam.
He said the owner registered the vessel with the Coastguard on December 25 last year, but was told to fulfil certain criteria for it to be authorised to sail, none of which was done.
"These included insuring the boat, getting its structure certified to international standards and acquiring a Commercial Registration," said Col Al Ghatam.
"The owner repeatedly promised to fulfil these requirements, but did not.
"This is not a tour ship, it is a floating first-class restaurant, which is registered to anchor at the jetty.
"Even Information Ministry Under-Secretary Mahmood Al Mahmood, who opened it last month, didn't know it was allowed to sail."
Col Al Ghatam said that had a Coastguard patrol seen the boat sailing, it would have been stopped.
"We didn't see the dhow that night, or else we would have stopped it, because its departure was unofficial," he said.
Officials revealed on Friday that the dhow's Indian "captain" was not licensed to be at the helm.