samedi 28 juin 2008
29/06/2008 10:37 - (SA)
Athens - A Greek ferry with 475 passengers and 97 crew on board had to be evacuated on Saturday after apparently colliding with a reef in the eastern Aegean, the merchant marine ministry said.
The Theofilos had a pierced hull and changed course to moor at the island of Oinousses with an escort of coastguard vessels and two helicopters, a ministry spokesperson told AFP.
"All passengers have evacuated and the lifeboats will reach the shore soon," ministry spokesperson Andreas Theofilou said.
The ship’s hull was breached below the waterline in an apparent collision with a reef near Oinousses, the spokesperson said, adding that the ferry was listing slightly.
"We heard a thud and this briefly caused some panic among the elderly and children," a man who identified himself as a passenger told private Skai radio.
Fuel had been seeping out of the hull but the authorities were waiting until the morning to assess the extent of any environmental damage, Theofilou said, adding that no information was available on the passengers’ nationalities.
Foreigners were believed to be on board, however, as the Theofilos is one of the ferries connecting the islands of Chios and Mytilene with the Greek mainland and it is high season for tourists in the Aegean.
The passengers were to spend a few hours at a merchant marine academy on Oinousses before a decision was to be taken on moving them to hotels on the neighbouring island of Chios where the accommodation capacity is much larger.
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