Santorini cruise ship crew charges
Jeremy Guest: April 2012
Santorini cruise ship crew charges.
Visitors on a holiday in Santorini in 2007 will recall the sinking of the Sea Diamond cruise liner in the caldera when two French tourists died. Now a total of 13 people are set to stand trial in connection with the sinking of the Sea Diamond off the holiday island of Santorini. Prosecutors warn they may face serious charges.
Prosecutors have recommended to a court in Naxos that the 13 be tried for manslaughter through negligence, breaching the safety of sea transport, causing sea pollution and breaching international safety regulations.
The Sea Diamond holiday cruise ship ran aground on an underwater volcanic reef in the caldera of the island of Santorini, just east of the islet of Nea Kameni, on April 5, 2007 at about 4pm.
Prosecutors now claim the Santorini holiday cruise ship was only 50 metres from shore when the accident happened and it should have been at least 285 metres away. They say that although the reef was not well marked in sea charts, the ship's sonar should have detected the obstruction and the crew taken evasive action.
The 1,195 Santorini holiday cruise ship passengers were mostly Americans and Canadians. They were all reported to be safely evacuated but it was later found that two French passengers were missing. They were later found drowned.
The damage led to the holiday cruise ship finally sinking two days later after being moved away from the holiday island and into deeper waters. The cruise ship now lies only 62 metres below sea level but it is feared the wreck could slide deeper into the submerged caldera of Santorini.
At the time Greek authorities announced they were charging the captain and five other officers with causing a shipwreck through negligence, breaching international shipping safety regulations and polluting the environment. All six were released until further notice.
After the sinking, the residents of Santorini island called for the wreck be raised and removed. Questions were asked as to why the holiday cruise ship was moved to deeper water before it sank.
In May, 2011, the Greek Government warned that the costs of raising and removing the Sea Diamond cruise liner would be around €150 million. They say recovering the holiday ship should be the responsibility of the insurers and company that owned the cruise liner.
MS Sea Diamond was a cruise ship operated by Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines but they have no plans to date to raise the ship however. Those on holiday in Santorini can see no trace of the ship today.