Captain charged in cruise ship sinking

Captain charged in cruise ship sinking – Yahoo! News

ATHENS, Greece – The captain of a cruise ship that sank in the Aegean Sea was charged Saturday with negligence, a government official said.

A Merchant Marine Ministry spokeswoman confirmed that a prosecutor charged the captain but said she could not confirm a report on state NET TV that five other officers also were charged. She spoke anonymously according to customary government policy. Two French passengers are missing after the Sea Diamond hit rocks and foundered Thursday near Santorini island. The rest of the 1,154 passengers and 391 crew were safely evacuated.If upheld in court, the charges carry a maximum five-year sentence.

Nearly 1,600 people were retrieved from the sinking ship Thursday in a three-hour rescue operation after the vessel foundered on a volcanic reef, but some passengers complained of an insufficient supply of life vests, little guidance from crew members and being forced into a steep climb down rope-ladders to safety.

The 469-foot Sea Diamond struck rocks Thursday in the sea-filled crater formed by a volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago off the island, sinking about a quarter-mile off the coast, in waters of uneven depth, a few minutes before it was to dock.

The captain, chief mate, second mate, third mate, chief cabin steward, and housekeeper of the Greek-flagged vessel were arrested after the accident, the Merchant Marine Ministry spokeswoman said earlier Saturday.

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