Minoan Ferry Sinking Cited as Worst Maritime Disaster in 35 Years

Wednesday, September 27, 2000
Rescuers pulled bodies from the Aegean sea on Wednesday as the death toll from Greece's worst maritime disaster in 35 years climbed to at least 62.

The ferry Express Samina ran into a rocky islet off the holiday isle of Paros and sank in gale-force conditions late on Tuesday. Hundreds of Greek and foreign passengers were hurled into the rough waters.

Twenty-nine people were missing, the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said. Survivors described a night of terror, clutching life vests and floating debris, and of fishermen "heroes" who came to their rescue.

An all-night, all-day rescue operation - reinforced by passing British warships - combed the seas off Paros, a popular tourist destination in the idyllic Cycladic island chain southeast of Athens, for survivors in gale force winds.

Officials said 443 people had been rescued. There was confusion about how many people had been on board the ferry, with suggestions that children and last minute passengers may have inflated the 510 registered passengers and crew.

A Greek Coast Guard official died of a heart attack during rescue operations.

It was the deadliest maritime disaster in Greece since the passenger ferry Iraklio went down in 1965, killing 217 people.

Government officials and survivors began asking how a ferry could collide with a charted island. A Paros senior Coast Guard official provided only that, "there was a lighthouse on the rock." Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressed grief and pledged a full investigation into the sinking.

"I assure the Greek people that plenty of light will be shed on this tragedy that has shaken all of us," he said in a statement.

Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos told parliament he ordered the investigation after speaking with the Prime Minister.

"I spoke with the Supreme Court prosecutor in order to launch criminal proceedings against the shipowners and ship operators as well as those in charge of the ship," Stathopoulos said.

The Coast Guard on Paros detained five crew members, including the captain, for questioning. The ship's owner, Minoan Flying Dolphins, a subsidiary of Minoan Lines, rejected claims by a seamen's union that the ferry was not seaworthy, saying the Merchant Marine Ministry had investigated and approved its sailing.

"The company declares that it...will make available all of its services to shed light on the reasons for the tragic accident," it said in a statement.

It was reported today that a Minoan representative had been called to answer questions at the Piraeus Port Authority.

Parliament interrupted regular proceedings and opposition parties demanded a full investigation.

Maritime Reporter January 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

InterMoor Completes Juniper Mooring Installation Contract

InterMoor has completed a mooring and foundation installation campaign for bpTT’s Juniper gas project offshore Trinidad and Tobago, reportedly the largest foundation

Huisman Cranes for New Maersk Subsea Support Vessels

In December 2014, Huisman secured a contract from COSCO (Dalian) Shipyard for the delivery of four customized 400mt Rope Luffing Knuckle Boom Cranes and two 100mt

Boost for Offshore Wind Energy

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy resources and cut carbon pollution, Secretary of the Interior

Energy

Britain to Ban Fracking in National Parks

Britain said on Monday it would ban fracking in national parks, reversing a policy announced last year, in a concession to the opposition Labour Party which had

Libya Forces Tanker Away from Supplying Rival Government

Libya's recognized government said it forced a tanker from delivering fuel to its rival administration, diverting the vessel to its own territory by threatening an air attack on it.

BP Freezes Pay in 2015 to Cut Costs

BP is freezing base pay across the group this year, the latest in a series of steps by oil majors to cut costs in response to sinking oil prices.   Over the past year,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1379 sec (7 req/sec)