Five French youths were being questioned yesterday over possession of drugs after a prank of theirs had swung the Merchant Marine Ministry’s search and rescue mechanism into action erroneously because of fears that a ship was in the process of sinking. The alert was sounded by authorities yesterday after they picked up signals from a boat’s emergency position indicating radiobeacon (EPIRB), which is designed to transmit its location when it hits the water. The signal emanated from near Volos harbor in eastern Greece, but when coast guards arrived they discovered that the crisis had been caused by five youths who had been jumping onto boats in the Pefkakia area of the harbor and vandalizing them. The EPIRB was one of the items they threw overboard. They were arrested and officers then searched the house in which they were staying, where they seized sedatives which did not have a doctor’s prescription, as well as drugs. Six others staying in the same house were also arrested. Their identity was not made known.