Captain and Chief Officer of Grounded Ferry Arrested
The captain and the chief officer of the Europalink ferry shipwrecked near the islet of Peristeres northeast of Corfy have been arrested by the Greek authorities, the Maritime Operational Centre of the Ministry of Merchant Marine reports. The Italian-flagged ferry was on her regular route from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona, Italy, when it hit underwater rocks at around 2 am on Sunday, September 21.
The Europalink, operated by Minoan Lines, part of Grimaldi Group, suffered damage on the right side of the hull, with two large cracks and a number of smaller ones. The ferry was sailed to Corfu on Sunday evening, where it was cleared of 366 cars, with one bus, 10 trailers and 11 semi-trailers left on board. Corfu Port Authority set up a floating barrier around the ferry while the water was being pumped out.
The crew and 692 passengers were evacuated, and accommodated in Corfu at the expense of the company. At midnight, Sunday, some 451 passengers, along with 88 vehicles and 118 trucks boarded Europalink’s ferry Cruise Europa which transferred them to Ancona. The ferry will stay in Corfu port until the port authorities grant sailing permission to the vessel.
The captain and the chief officer were questioned by a prosecutor later that day. They are facing charges for causing a collision inadvertently, thus placing the lives of the passengers in danger. Both men were released after questioning.