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April 30, 2007

Sea Diamond - the mystery deepens

20070411_diamond1 The world's media have moved on from the sinking of the Sea Diamond cruise ship in Greece, but over here the saga continues...

The "black box" has been recovered from the vessel, which might explain what happened in the half-hour between the ship striking the rocks and the captain alerting authorities that there had been an accident at all. It might also shed light on who made the decision to tow the ship from shallow water to the point where she then sank.

What it won't do is shed light on what happened to the two French passengers still missing from the people who were on board.

There have been stories in the media, and even official briefings by minister Manolis Kefaloyannis, that claim to contradict the version of events of Anne Allain, the woman whose husband and 16 year old daughter are missing, presumed drowned. There are even suggestions that the two missing persons never in fact re-boarded the ship at the previous stop, Iraklio in Crete, before the Sea Diamond embarked on her doomed voyage to Santorini.

The French embassy has vigourously defended Allain against the speculation, which has begun to sound like a movie script in the making.

However, it is difficult to know which officials, if any, to believe in this story.

20070411_diamond2The political row about the sinking has been fuelled by the fact that the Greek ministry concerned put out a press release saying that everybody on board had been accounted for and was safe, and that the operation to stabilise and safeguard the vessel had been a complete success. This was done late during the evening that the vessel first became stranded.

Seven hours later, contrary to the official version, it became clear that people were missing, and, by then, the Sea Diamond herself was on the bottom of the sea.

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