Greek Ship Sinks; Two Passengers Missing
Passengers Evacuate Listing Greek Cruise Ship
Joyce Gleeson-Adamidis, author of If I Were Not Upon the Sea and Cruise Critic's Under the Captain's Table column, is currently in Naxos, Greece, a half-hour outside of Santorini. As a former cruise entertainment staffer and captain's wife, her column generates interest -- and opinions -- among Cruise Critic readers more than any other story we run. We asked Joyce to share with us her thoughts, and what it is like today in a country experiencing the Sea Diamond incident first-hand. Here's what she had to say via e-mail:
"On the Greek news there is a lot of arguing: why it happened and rather silly things with not a lot of substance. They have the Minister of Tourism talking, but she is only trying to calm peoples' fears down. Louis Cruises has investigators side by side with the Greek Coast Guard and divers as they are looking for the two missing and 'if' there could be any others."
Editor's note: George Stathopoulos, a spokesman for the cruise line, told the New York Times that "All other passengers have been accounted for ... we're certain now."
"The ship had been coming into the anchoring area as the accident happened, so the assumption is that the captain was on the bridge. No one has been able to speak with the captain other than the company and the authorities. And they are talking to passengers who were willing to give their story of where they were onboard.
"This area where they anchor is not far from the cliffs and a normal area where a ship this size would anchor close to where the passengers are tendered to the pier. Procedure and location ... seemed normal. Weather was very good so a deeper investigation is in place to find out what actually happened. There is a lot of hearsay, but no facts yet.
"The wife of the missing husband and daughter claimed to have been swimming from below trying to get out. No one is sure of her story as she is very scared and obviously distraught.
"It is a sore subject for all crew at this moment and a delicate matter for ourselves personally as the last time we were visiting Naxos, a ferry had gone down just off of the shore -- it was a ferry we were supposed to be on but at the last minute we had changed our minds and went on an earlier one.
"This tragedy now has devastated the entire Greek community as they pride themselves of their sea abilities, and Greece is full of hospitality and warm welcome to their visitors, so hearts are weighing heavy as this Easter has arrived not only for Christian society but the Orthodox society as they all were celebrating this weekend as a whole. Today we all participated in all the churches with special prayers that were said of those involved. It really hurts ... the country is small, so things are felt as a whole."