Officials in Bahrain have said the cruise boat which capsized on Thursday killing at least 57 people had not been licensed to sail.
Bahrain's Interior Ministry said the ship's owner had applied for a licence, but never completed the procedures.
Officials say the vessel had never been inspected and was registered only as a fishing boat.
Amongst the dead was an Irish citizen, 52-year-old Derek Cunningham from Drogheda, Co Louth.
The boat's captain is being questioned by police.