Supreme Court decision awaited

Two years after the passenger ferry Express Samina hit the Portes islets as it approached the island of Paros, the indictment file is in the hands of Evangelos Kroustallakis, Supreme Court prosecutor. Along with the deputy prosecutor, Athanassios Andreoulakos, Kroustallakis is studying the brief submitted by the Aegean Appeals Court which recommends that those charged in connection with the tragedy be tried in a court of misdemeanors, in order to decide whether an appeal should be lodged. The brief accepts the fact that the shipwreck was the result of negligence on the part of the ship’s crew, noting that the ship was seaworthy. However, it found that that there were problems with the ship’s lifesaving equipment, which was of inferior quality. Documents certifying the ship’s seaworthiness are expected to be submitted to the Piraeus prosecutor’s office where there is a corresponding brief. According to the indictment, the ship’s captain, Vassilis Yiannakis, second mate, Anastassios Psychoyios, first mate, Giorgios Triantafyllos, chief engineer, Gerasimos Skiadaresis, radio operator, Dimitris Tsoumas, and helmsman-seaman, Panayiotis Kasdaglis, should be tried by a court of misdemeanors. Charges of multiple counts of exposing human lives to danger have been dropped against Costas Klironomos, the then chairman of the company, Minoan Flying Dolphins, and Nikos Vikatos, member of Minoan’s board at the time. Four of the accused – Yiannakis, Psychoyios, Triantafyllos and Skiadaresis – are charged with negligence in carrying out their duties which led to the sinking of the ship. The Aegean Appeals Court did not find them guilty of willful misconduct, therefore the original criminal charge was commuted to a misdemeanor. Although prosecutor N. Pandioras’s recommendation to the Aegean Appeals Court – which was not binding – described the six crew members’ negligence as criminal and attributed responsibility to the shipowners’ representatives, he noted that «no willful misconduct can be shown on the part of the accused at the time the ship collided with the islets.»

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