Owners of Mosul ferry arrested after deadly disaster: Iraq judiciary

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Iraqi women cast flowers into the Tigris river in remembrance of the victims of the capsized ferry in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on March 22, 2019. (AFP)

The owners of a ferry that capsized in Mosul killing 100 people have been arrested along with engineers who had allegedly certified the vessel, Iraq’s judiciary said Sunday. “The committee set up to investigate the sinking of the ferry announced the arrest of the boat’s owners” along with three engineers who “had certified that it complied with regulations”, the Supreme Judicial Council said in a statement. The boat was packed with families from the northern city, a former bastion of ISIS, crossing the River Tigris to celebrate the Kurds’ Nowruz New Year holiday. Most of the victims of the accident on March 21, Iraqi Mother’s Day, were women and children. The strong current washed some bodies miles downstream, and dozens of people are still missing. The tragedy came after authorities had warned that water levels were dangerously high, and sparked anger among Iraqis who blamed official corruption and neglect. The judiciary did not name the owners who were arrested, but said they were caught in Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region. Their cases have been transferred to a panel of three judges and a prosecutor, it said. The Iraqi parliament has fired the governor of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the main city, who has gone on the run.