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Greece Lifts Ship Ban After Ferry Tragedy

October 29, 2000|REUTERS

ATHENS — The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry has lifted a ban on more than 60 passenger vessels ordered into port for failing to meet safety requirements after the sinking of the Express Samina, which killed 80 people last month.

The ships, confined to harbor since Oct. 1, completed security refitting that mainly involved fire safety, the ministry said last week. A total of 47 island ferries, nine international cruise ships and nine ferries on the Piraeus-Crete line were among those affected.

The ministry ordered the ban after Greece's worst sea tragedy in decades when the Express Samina sank off the island of Paros on Sept. 26 with about 525 aboard, killing more than 65.

Greek shipping companies had threatened to stop vessels from sailing to protest the ban and what they called a "vilification" of their industry after the sinking. But they called off the protest after the government lifted the ban.

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