Greek ferry captain in the dock

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The captain and three crew charged with manslaughter over the sinking of the Greek ferry Express Samina in which 79 people drowned, testified before prosecutors yesterday, just hours after a second fatal sinking in the Aegean Sea.

The captain and three crew charged with manslaughter over the sinking of the Greek ferry Express Samina in which 79 people drowned, testified before prosecutors yesterday, just hours after a second fatal sinking in the Aegean Sea.

An elderly American tourist died after a chartered boat, the Zeus Three, ran aground and sank off the island of Naxos. Thirty passengers, mostly American, and seven crew survived the accident, which happened late on Saturday night.

As a result of a crackdown following last week's sinking off Paros, 65 Greek ferries and cruise ships have been ordered to remain in port for failing to meet safety requirements

Yesterday, the captain of the Express Samina and his three crew members testified for more than five hours before prosecutors on the island of Syros, the regional capital.

"As the captain of the sunken ship, I feel shattered both emotionally and psychologically," said Vassilis Yannakis in a statement to reporters before giving testimony.

The four accused are accused of manslaughter, and also face charges of violating international rules on avoiding collision, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before the passengers.

Mr Yannakis has said he takes overall responsibility as captain of the ship. His number two, Tassos Psychoyios, said bad weather drove the ship on to the rocks and described how he grabbed the wheel from the helmsman but failed to steer the ship away.

After the hearing, which could last a few days, prosecutors may re-file charges, making them more specific and targeted at individuals.

Comments