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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-02

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cruiseship owners blame sea charts for sinking
  • [02] EU Commissioner Reding in Athens

  • [01] Cruiseship owners blame sea charts for sinking

    The owners of a sunken cruise ship now resting on the ocean floor of Santorini's picturesque volcanic Caldera on Friday blamed erroneous sea charts as causing the maritime accident, with company officials charging that the exact location and depth of a reef struck by the ill-fated "Sea Diamond" were inaccurate.

    According to information presented in Athens by the head of operations for the Louis Hellenic Cruises company, the reef was listed at a distance of 57 metres from the shoreline, but in fact, was 131 metres from the shoreline, which in this case is the sheer rock cliffs of the popular holiday island's caldera.

    Additionally, Louis Cruise official George Koubenas said the depth of the reef was given as between 18 and 22 metres on a chart issued by Greece's relevant Hydrographic Service, instead of the actual five-metre depth.

    Koubenas said that since the 22,410-ton vessel's draught was 6.1 metres, the collision was unavoidable.

    Company officials said they commissioned a new underwater survey of the immediate sea region where the vessel sank on April 6, 2007, results of which were received by the firm on Thursday. They added that the report was also conveyed to judicial officials investigating the accident, Santorini's harbour master and the hydrological service.

    Asked by reporters why hundreds of other cruise ships over the years avoided the infamous reef using the same sea charts, Koubenas merely noted that skippers' maneuvers vary with every voyage.

    The "Sea Diamond" sank at dawn on Orthodox Good Friday -- April 6, 2007 -- after it ran aground off Santorini the previous day. The 20-year old cruise ship sank at the site known by local mariners as "Old Mines", near Santorini's tiny harbour of Athenios, after water flooded its engine room and decks 2 and 3 during the night.

    Two French nationals listed as tourists aboard the vessel remain missing to this date, a 45-year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter.

    The rest of the passengers (1,170), mostly Americans and Germans, and a crew of 390 were evacuated within a few hours after the ship ran aground.

    The "Sea Diamond" was launched after a major renovation in April 2006, operating a seven-day sea cruise from Piraeus to the Aegean islands.

    Captions: The ill-fated cruise ship "Sea Diamond" is shown listing in Santorini's caldera hours before it eventually sank, in a file photo dated April 5, 2007. ANA-MPA / STR

    [02] EU Commissioner Reding in Athens

    Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Friday met with visiting EU Commissioner Viviane Reding for talks on issues concerning the electronic mass media's transition to the digital era.

    Roussopoulos briefed Reding on a law passed concerning electronic mass media concentration and licensing, passed by the Greek Parliament.

    The European Commissioner was also briefed on a provisional frequency map in effect during the transitional period and on the final map of digital TV frequencies being prepared in cooperation with the transport ministry and Athens Polytechnic experts.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of EU Commissioner Viviane Reding. ANA-MPA / K. MAVRONA


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