The Louis Cruise Line cruise ship, Sea Diamond ran aground today just off the Aegean island of Santorini. Sea Diamond is registered in Greece.
The ship had 1600 passengers onboard, most were rescued, but two French passengers, a man and his daughter are missing. Divers began search the sunken vessel for the two on April 6.
Jean-Christophe Allain, 45, and his 16-year-old daughter, Maud Allain both from France are still missing. Initial reports that all were accounted for, are incorrect.
Tourism Minister Fanny Palli Petralia said she had spoken with the missing passenger’s wife. “The lady said her cabin filled with water when the ship struck rocks and that she narrowly escaped,” Petralia said. “She was not sure whether her husband and daughter made it out because things happened so suddenly ... in a few seconds. Her other child was up on deck and was evacuated safely.”
This is the same situation as the Queen Of The North sinking last year. Two people are still missing from that sinking after initial reports said all were rescued.
Louis Cruise Lines said there were 730 Americans, 112 Spaniards, 100 French and many other foreign nationals on board, including Germans, Britons and 15 Australians, and 390 crew.
The Merchant Marine Ministry said another Louis Cruise ship transported 296 passengers and 38 crew to the port of Piraeus on Friday. The rest of the passengers and the crew were expected in Piraeus later in the day.
After the ship ran aground on a volcanic reef, ripping open her hull, she began to list heavily and an oil slick was seen coating the ocean surface. Ships and small craft came to the rescue after the ship called out in distress as she began sinking.
Sea Diamond ran aground in well-chartered waters, half a nautical mile off shore, near a Santorini port and the company said it was conducting an investigation into the reasons for the incident.
Investigators were questioning the captain and three officers about Thursday‘s crash into rocks, which are marked with warning lights and clearly indicated on navigation charts.
Passengers said they could hear a screeching sound, that some thought was the sound of the anchor dropping. Later the sound was identified as the hull scraping on the rocks at the bottom of the sea.
As the ship's hull ripped open, things went flying onboard, with dishes and other items crashing to the floor, due to the sudden jolt of the ship coming to a stop.
As she continuing to list, the vessel was towed into shallow waters, where the vessel finally rolled over, her hull in the air, never to sail again 15 hours after striking the reef.
The crew used boats and ladders to evacuate the passengers, assisted by a flotilla of vessels from the island, other cruise ships and Greek navy and airforce helicopters.
The Sea Diamond's Canadian passengers -- mainly high school students from Quebec and Alberta, all got safely off the listing ship before it went down.
The Canadians are part of two groups of high school students -- 26 from Alberta and about 40 from Quebec -- who were among the 1,600 on board when the ship ran aground and started to take on water.
The Alberta group, which was in Greece on the school's annual travel-club trip, was to have spent Friday in Athens before they departed the following day.
By Friday, all that was left of the vessel built in 1986, and not renovated for the past decade, was the memory of the event that began with a horrifying sound of the vessel being torn apart, people screaming, and passengers struggling to get their life jackets on. The evacuation which eventually took place by climbing down down ropes and ladders into smaller vessels.
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