Coast guards to face Samina ferry charges

A council of Piraeus Misdemeanor Court judges yesterday ruled that the former coast guard chief and five officers should face criminal charges in connection with the Express Samina ferry disaster four years ago, which resulted in the death of 80 passengers. According to the court ruling, the officers and Vice Admiral Andreas Sirigos, former head of the coast guard, will be tried on the basis that they were solely responsible for the ship sailing illegally and without proper documentation before the disaster. An investigation by prosecutor Grigoris Peponis found that the Express Samina had left port after an annual check on July 18, just over two months before it sank, without being supplied with papers proving its seaworthiness. The ferry sank on September 26, 2000 after it struck an outcrop of rocks just off the port of Paros.

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