Preparedness ‘an advertisement for tourism’

Louis raised the Greek flag on cruise ships sailing in Greek waters following a decision by former merchant marine minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis, so that the social security contributions of Greek seamen, amounting to -10 million a year, would be paid by the Greek state, in an attempt to revive Greek cruises. Following the Sea Diamond incident, Kefaloyiannis declared that «Our preparedness was an advertisement for Greek tourism and the evacuation process was the response of a modern and efficient country.» When it was discovered that two French passengers were missing he suggested that they might not in fact have been on the ship at the time, without any evidence that this was the case. The ministry pledged to pump every drop of fuel from the ship and in mid-May informed the port authorities that the pumping was proceeding according to plan. Three months after the incident, the minister announced that the search was still in progress for the missing French passengers.

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