Minoan Ferry Captain, Crew Indicted

Thursday, September 28, 2000
The captain and four crewmen from the Greek ferry that sank off Paros with more than 500 passengers aboard were moved to another island to be formally charged with manslaughter, eyewitnesses said.

Named as Vassilis Yannakis, the captain; his number two Tasso Psychoyios; trainee captain Yannis Patilas' radio operator Yannis Tsoumos; and seaman Panayotis Kazakis, the five were taken to a Coast Guard patrol boat and left Paros for the nearby island of Syros, the regional capital of the Cyclades island group.

A Syros prosecutor is expected to spell out the charges against each crewmember late today or early on Friday, and to decide whether they should be held pending trial.

He has begun the procedure by pressing the general charge of "repeated manslaughter with possible intent" against anyone responsible for the sinking of Express Samina.

As reported earlier, the ferry struck rocks on a well-charted islet with a lighthouse late on Tuesday night, shortly before it was due to dock at the port of Paros. It listed and quickly sank in stormy conditions, throwing hundreds of people into the water and killing at least 65.

Coast Guard officials quoted witnesses as saying that some crew members were watching a soccer game on television when the ship hit the rocks.

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