Saturday, April 07, 2007
Greek authorities are carrying out preliminary investigation on the Sea Diamond cruiser, which struck a reef half a mile off the Aegean island of Santorini and started listing till it finally sank early Friday morning. Local televisions reported that the Santorini Port Authorities are carrying out a preliminary examination, while the captain, the Second Mate, the helmsman, the first officer and four crew-members are giving their statements to shed light on the causes of the accident.In his statement, the captain said that was overconfident when the ship was entering the port, adding that he overestimated the capabilities of the ship when it approached the reef buoy. However, he said that up to the last moment he tried to avoid the collision but in vain. This was his maiden voyage as captain with the Sea Diamond. After its evacuation, the 20-year-old ship run by "Louis Hellenic-Cruises" anchored at Athinio coast but it finally sank at dawn on Holy Friday, when water flooded the engine room and decks No 2 and 3, resulting in increase of its list. It is reported that Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis is being continually briefed by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefalogiannis and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the case.On board the ship were 1,170 passengers, the majority being American and German tourists, and 390 crew members. Two French people were reported missing while the rest of passengers and crewmen were rescued. The 22,412-ton Sea Diamond, which flew the Greek flag since 2006, was built in 1986 and was refurbished in 1999. It could carry 1,250 passengers in 570 cabins. The ship was on a 7-day cruise, scheduled to arrive in Piraeus on Holy Friday morning.