The process of removing the sunken Sea Diamond cruise liner from Santorini’s caldera got under way yesterday, more than a year after the ship foundered off the island’s coast, as eight companies made bids for an international tender to salvage the 22,000-ton vessel. A local port authority committee is to convene next Tuesday, after the Orthodox Easter celebrations, to decide on how the offers by the various companies – Greek and foreign – will be assessed. Meanwhile, sources said that additional companies may throw their hats into the ring too. Committee representatives said their aim is to move ahead with the best candidate as quickly as possible so that the wreck can be raised without delay. They said that the fuel leaking from the Sea Diamond wreck has been «controlled.» Earlier this month residents of Santorini – one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations – staged a protest on the anniversary of the cruise liner’s sinking, calling for the vessel to be salvaged and all spilt fuel to be pumped out of the sea.