Authorities detain ship captain

Authorities have detained the captain of a tourist boat that ran aground off Poros, near Athens, on Thursday with more than 300 people on board. A rescue operation using boats, helicopters and a military plane successfully evacuated all 278 passengers Thursday night, most of them tourists from Japan, Russia and the USA. No injuries were reported. Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis admitted that it was lucky the accident took place close to Piraeus. «There were many means available which immediately intervened,» said the minister. The boat, called the Giorgis and built in 1959, was also carrying 35 crew members. It is unclear why the boat ran aground on a marked reef. «The installation of an electronic monitoring system for all of Greece is in progress and this will reduce the role of human error,» added the minister. Although seas at the time were choppy, the weather was not stormy. The captain, who remained on the Giorgis to aid the salvage effort, has testified to investigators.

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