Shipowner and Insurers to Contest Raising of the "Sea Diamond" in Court

Αssociated Press

"Sea Diamond" sank on April 5, 2007 in Santorini, Greece. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS - The ship owner and insurers of the sunken cruiseship "Sea Diamond", which sank in Santorini's Athinios port in April 2007, intend to go to court to contest the public port authority's decision to put the raising of the cruiseship from the sea bottom out to tender, the lawyers of both parties informed the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Wednesday.

The port authority had on December 9, 2019 announced an open and public invitation to tender with sealed offers on January 20, 2020 for the raising and removal of the shipwreck, for a contract totaling 350,000,000 euros not including 24 pct VAT.

The invitation noted that the "public entity is responsible for the protection of the environment in the port, according to the law, and is obliged to proceed with the fulfillment of the obligations with which the 2881/2001 law burden the owner of the vessel."

It quotes a Polytechnic of Crete report issued in 2016, which states that "the 'Sea Diamond' shipwreck is a significant environmental threat for the marine environment of Santorini's caldera".

According to a report by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, which by presidential decree is responsible for informing the state on issues concerning the marine environment, "the general conclusion arising from measurements spanning a period of 12 years since the accident is that there are no obvious repercussions on the marine ecosystem of the area from the shipwreck."

Despite the fact that the sunken cruiseship contains some pollutant loads that end up in the waters of the caldera, the results of the measurements show that the rate of their release into the environment is such that they do not affect water quality. The concentration of pollutants in the sea water and sediment remain low and normal, while the marine organism biomes remain totally healthy. It said that continued measurements focusing on the detailed study of bioaccumulation phenomena would be useful.