Conditions imposed as Brothers reopen
Picture: Alexander Vasenin.
The Brother Islands reopen to divers today (16 March) following a closure period of more than three months – and a new decree from Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate has defined how diving is to be carried out at the location from now on.
The Brothers were closed to liveaboards last December, following a series of non-fatal incidents involving scuba divers and oceanic whitetip sharks.
The closure was imposed to allow experts time to study what had changed the sharks’ behaviour, and they determined this to be the dumping of organic waste in the sea, either through routine disposal or as a deliberate way of attracting sharks.
16 March 2019
As a result some 1500 liveaboard crew-members were required to undergo compulsory environmental awareness courses during February, as reported on Divernet.
Only liveaboards with crews that have undergone the training are now permitted to visit the Brothers, and under the new regulations the boats are no longer permitted to stay overnight, with diving restricted to the hours of 6am to 4pm.
No more than 18 liveaboards are allowed to visit the Brothers on any one day – 12 at Big Brother and 6 at the smaller island. They are required to obtain sailing permits to visit, with regulatory body the Chamber of Diving & Water Sports responsible for coordinating their trips.
And the CDWS says that the dumping of any organic waste within five nautical miles of the Brother Islands is now “totally forbidden” – and that penalties will be applied if any of the regulations are contravened.