Diamond five cleared

Five people convicted in connection with the fatal sinking of the Sea Diamond cruiseship have been cleared on appeal.

A Piraeus court overturned guilty verdicts on two representatives of cruise company Louis and a surveyor from the ship's classification society DNV, plus the navigation officer and chief engineer, Kathimerini reported.

Three others had their convictions for negligence upheld, however.

The 22,000-gt vessel hit rocks off Santorini in April 2007 and sank, killing two French passengers.

In July last year nine out of 13 accused were found guilty.

Captain Yiannis Marionos was handed a five-year jail sentence by the appeals court, which he can buy out for EUR 5 per day or EUR 9,125 ($12,400) in total.

At the initial trial he had received a sentence of 12 years and two months.

Louis' head of onshore operations was given a three-year suspended term and the first mate a 26-month suspended sentence.

Louis told TradeWinds all company officials were cleared of charges relating to the accident itself and the sentence for the onshore chief related to what the court described as delays in the environmental handling of its effects.

“It should also be noted that the seaworthiness of the vessel was cleared and so was the company's post-accident reaction (i.e. immediate deploy of salvage tugs etc),” it added.  

The shipowner said after the accident that the official nautical chart of the Hellenic Hydrographic office for the shore area contained incorrect information, causing Sea Diamond to collide with an underwater reef and subsequently sink.