Skip to main content

Iraqi parliament votes to fire local governor over Mosul ferry sinking

Governor of Nineveh Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan sacked after overloaded ferry sank killing at least 100 people
Family members of Mosul boat accident bury the dead (Reuters)
The majority of victims were women and children who could not swim, a local authority official told Reuters (Reuters)

Iraq's parliament has voted to fire Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan, the governor of Nineveh,  after an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river in Mosul on Thursday, killing at least 100 people, state media has reported. 

The majority of victims were women and children who could not swim, Husam Khalil, head of the Civil Defence Authority in Mosul, told the Reuters news agency.

Sunday's decision to sack Sultan came after Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had called on Saturday for the parliament to consider firing Sultan over mismanagement of services in the city and alleged corruption.  

Ferry capsizes on Iraq's Tigris River, killing more than 70
Read More »

Mahdi's letter echoed growing resentment towards local authorities over perceived corruption as Mosul continues to rebuild after Baghdad retook control of the city from Islamic State (IS). 

Parliament also voted to sack Sultan's two deputies, in line with Mahdi's request.

The governor, who has yet to comment on the vote, can appeal the decision in court.

Mahdi's letter to parliament accused Sultan of negligence, dereliction of duty, and said there was evidence he was misusing public funds and abusing power.

Protesters blamed negligence by the local government for the accident. The boat was loaded to five times its capacity, according to a local official.

Nowruz festival

The deaths from the sinking marked the biggest loss of life in the city after local forces took back control of Mosul from IS. 

Local media reports said the majority onboard the boat were celebrating the Nowruz festival, a new year holiday marked by Iraqi Kurds as well as other communities across the Middle East.

Scores of angry protesters, complaining about the city's corruption, swarmed Iraq's president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident. 

The crowd threw stones and shoes at Sultan's car, which sped off hitting two people.

During a visit to the site of the sinking on Thursday, Mahdi had said those responsible would be held accountable.

Five ferry workers have since been arrested.