Greece cleans up oil spill from sunken cruise ship

09 Apr 2007 10:43:18 GMT

Source: Reuters

By George Georgiopoulos ATHENS, April 9 (Reuters) – Experts struggled on Monday to disperse an oil spill along the coast of the Greek island of Santorini caused by the sinking of a cruise ship as a search took place to try and locate two missing French passengers. “Efforts to clean up the oil spill caused by the shipwreck are continuing with a 1,700-tonne dock assisting in the transfusion,” said an official at Greece’s Merchant Marine Ministry. “We are awaiting the arrival of a specialised deep sea vessel tomorrow, to help in the search for the two missing passengers,” the official said. A Greek prosecutor charged the captain and five other crew of the cruise ship which ran aground near the Aegean island. The 22,412-tonne Sea Diamond, run by Louis Cruise Lines, hit a reef on Thursday close to the shore of the picturesque island of Santorini, one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations. It listed and was evacuated within hours. A 45-year-old Frenchman and his 16-year-old daughter are unaccounted for. His wife and son were among 1,156 passengers and 391 crew safely evacuated from the Greek-registered ship. Louis Cruise Lines said there had been 730 Americans, 112 Spaniards, 100 French and many other foreigners on board, including Germans, Britons and Australians. Many have flown home and others are in hotels in the Greek capital. The six crew have been charged with “misdemeanours”, meaning they would probably face fines or suspended sentences rather than jail if convicted. A police source told Reuters the prosecutor on the island of Naxos had charged them with negligence leading to the sinking, violation of international maritime rules and other offences. The six were allowed to go free awaiting trial. A date for the trial has not been set. Greece’s Merchant Marine Ministry said it would conduct a new round of hearings with the six in an effort to determine what exactly caused the ship to sink only metres from the island. “The six people have been taken back to Santorini from Naxos to testify again in the coming days,” the police source said. “The ministry activated an old rule that allows it to question sailors again even after charges have been filed.” The cruiser left the port of Piraeus last Monday for a five-day island cruise and had been due to return on Friday. It sank early on Friday.

~ by fredfelleman on April 9, 2007.

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