Negligence, sloppiness sank ferry

The sinking of the Express Samina off Paros with the loss of 80 lives in September 2000 stemmed from the criminal negligence, incompetence and gross indifference of six crew members, a public prosecutor has found. Napoleon Pantioras, appeals court prosecutor for the Aegean, also says in a report to a council that will file charges that the chairman of the MFD shipowning company, Costas Klironomos, board member Nikos Vikatos and two inspectors should face misdemeanor charges for stating falsely that the ship had sufficient life jackets. The Ethnos daily reported yesterday that Pantioras found the ferry was «marginally seaworthy.» Capt. Vassilis Yiannakis, he said, was not at his post as the ship approached port in bad weather and had not ensured lifesaving equipment was sufficient. Duty Officer Tassos Psychoyios was also not on the bridge but in one of the lounges, holding a TV remote control and pestering a young woman passenger. He allegedly swore at a cadet officer who warned him the ship was heading for the Portes rocks, which sank it. No malice was involved, the prosecutor said. A high-pressure system from North Africa is responsible for the heat wave but weathermen predict a period of cooling off starting today. The island’s fire and medical services are on alert to control blazes and treat heatstroke victims.