CAIRO: A Russian tourist died Thursday while diving at Abu Hilal Canyon in Dahab, South Sinai, reigniting an ongoing conflict on the authority empowered to issue diving licenses.
Vadim Yatsin, 50, was diving under the supervision of an Estonian instructor, Pavel Sidorenko of Fun Divers, a diving center licensed by the Egyptian Diving and Lifesaving Federation (EDLF) of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, according to Youm7.
Tarek Waba, head of the Chamber of Diving and Water Sports (CDWS) of the Tourism Ministry, which was responsible for issuing diving licenses from 2007 to 2014, claims that Sidorenko was licensed by EDLF although he does not have a work permit, Youm7 reported.
EDLF was only able to issue diving licenses in November 2014 after the Administrative Court ruled that it is the only body entitled to oversee diving activities in Egypt. After the January 25 Revolution, and the arrest of then-Tourism Minister Zoheir Garana who had taken over the diving permits from EDLF, it demanded that it regain the authority.
However, former Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour decreed in 2011 that his ministry maintains the power over diving activities since they mostly take place in resorts. His decree was revoked by the court in 2014.
Both EDLF and CDWS exchange accusations of corruption and lack of expertise. Generally, however, diving accidents like that of Yatsin are rare in Egypt, and in many cases it is instructors who dive on their own to break a record or reach a new diving spot that do no resurface alive.
Prior to issuing a license by EDLF or CDWS, a center or a diving instructor must be certified by an international diving organization.