State cruise hits a snag

A new Labor Ministry program to provide a classier form of holiday for Greek pensioners and low-earning employees received a jolt yesterday when a cruise ship carrying hundreds of mainly elderly passengers ran aground twice in a shallow island port. The Lissos ferry, which had been chartered by the ministry to participate in the cruise program launched this month, hit a sandbar Sunday night in the port of Argostoli on the Ionian island of Cephalonia. None of the 620 people on board – mostly pensioners – were hurt, but there was a long delay until the ship could come unstuck. At noon yesterday, the Lissos came off the sandbar, only to get stuck again minutes later. After a two-hour delay, which included an inspection by a port authority diver, it set off for the rest of the eight-day cruise. The program, announced in April, will provide cruises for 4,500 people.