No malice in Samina shipwreck

The captain and first mate, as well as the owners of the Express Samina ferry that sank in September 2000 with the loss of 80 lives cannot be accused of intentionally causing the shipwreck, a Piraeus court has decided, in a ruling that further tangles the judicial web enshrouding the accident. The decision, made public yesterday, follows a compensation suit by the brother of one of the victims. «The captain and first mate of the ship and the shipping company are responsible for negligence, but had no malice aforethought as it has not been proved that they applauded or displayed indifference to the result of the shipwreck,» the text of the decision said. Initially, Captain Vassilis Yiannakis and First Mate Anastassios Psychogios were imprisoned pending trial for murder with possible intent – an increasingly popular charge among prosecutors investigating high-profile disasters. In November, a council of appeals court judges changed the charges to misdemeanours, but shortly afterward a Supreme Court prosecutor proposed that the two officers should be tried for felonies.

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