Aquamarine Louis Hellenic Cruises Hits Pier Rips Open Hull

Aquamarine Louis Hellenic Cruises Hits Pier Rips Open Hull, On May 8, 2008 –  The Louis Hellenic Cruises Greek cruise ship Aquamarine with 1,200 aboard is headed for port, after the hull of the ship was ripped open, making the vessel unfit for high seas.

There are conflicting reports of the damage. One report says the ship has a five foot long gash about 8 feet above the water line. Another says the gash is three feet long, and is located three feet above the water line. In either case, the ship was clearly unfit for sea before it left the dock.

The Ministry of Merchant Marine said Aquamarine was heading for the island of Milos at reduced speed with 872 passengers and 467 crew aboard after the accident.

Aquamarine’s captain informed ministry officials that the cruise ship scraped against a pier when sailing from its port of departure of Iraklio, Crete. The crew later inspected the hull and found the damage above the water line.

Aquamarine had been heading for the resort island of Santorini, Greece on the last day of a four-day cruise to the Aegean Sea islands and the Turkish port of Kusadasi.

Company spokesman Michalis Maratheftis said the ship brushed against the pier “due to winds and the absence of protective rubber fenders on the pier.”

Maratheftis did not say why the ship was not inspected at the pier after the incident, and instead put out to sea before inspecting the vessel. The inspection was called an “emergency” inspection. Apparently, it was not an “emergency” to inspect the ship before she put out to sea.

Louis Hellenic Cruises is the same line that lost two French passengers when the Sea Diamond ripped open her hull during a grounding off the shore of Santorini, Greece, and then later sank. The crew failed to properly evacuate the ship, resulting in two passengers not being able to escape the flooding ship.

Now, with Aquamarine having put out to sea, before the crew did a check of the hull, we had another disaster in the making. It would seem the crews employed by Louis Hellenic Cruises have not been properly trained in emergency procedures.