The remote-controlled submersible that has been searching Sea Diamond for traces of two missing passengers has located the ship's data recorder, or "black box," the Associated Press reports today. The Greek cruise ship struck volcanic rocks last Thursday off the coast of Santorini and sank about 15 hours later.
Efforts will be made to recover the data recorder and hopefully reveal details of last week's incident, according to Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry. Up until now, there's been confusion about what happened onboard and in the hours following the evacuation. Kathimerini, Greece's international English language newspaper, reports that Louis Cruise Lines ordered the captain to move the ship to shallower waters 130 meters (about 427 ft.) away to try to prevent the vessel from sinking. The line claims, though, that once passengers had evacuated, the tugboat that steadied the ship during the rescue operation actually pulled Sea Diamond in the opposite direction.
Conversely, Gerasimos Kanakaris, the head of Santorini's boatmen's association, told the newspaper that there was no spot nearby wide enough to accommodate the sinking cruise ship. He also suggested that by the time the evacuation finished it was almost certain Sea Diamond would sink as the ship had begun to list by 20 degrees.
The underwater probe is also being used to stop the leakage of fuel from the sunken ship.
We'll keep you posted.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor
Image appears courtesy of Cruise Critic reader James Chuvalas.