Hydrofoils charged for fire risk

Two hydrofoil ferry companies were charged yesterday with endangering human life after a judicial investigation found that none of the hydrofoils inspected after a fire on a sister vessel two years ago complied with fire safety regulations. Hellas Flying Dolphins – as Minoan Flying Dolphins was renamed following the September 2000 Samina shipwreck – and Falcon were also charged with acquiring false certificates, as the vessels which were found lacking in fire safety equipment had all been declared seaworthy by Merchant Marine Ministry inspectors. The inspectors who examined the hydrofoils between early 2000 and June 2001 were charged with issuing false certificates. A judicial investigation during that period found that all 18 hydrofoils inspected – 15 belonging to HFD and three belonging to Falcon – fell far short of Greek and European Union fire safety standards. The investigation followed a blaze on a Minoan Flying Dolphin hydrofoil off the island of Aegina in August 2000. None of the 76 passengers and crew were hurt, but the vessel was burnt to the gunwales.