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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 20:39 GMT
Greek tourist ship runs aground
The Giorgis lies stranded in the in the Saronic Gulf (13 March 2008)
The Giorgis took on large amounts of water after running aground
Greek authorities have evacuated a ship carrying 313 people, mostly foreign tourists, which ran aground near the island of Poros, south of Athens.

Helicopters, a military transport plane and coastguard vessels were involved in rescuing those on board the Giorgis, which hit a reef in the Saronic Gulf.

The merchant marine ministry said there had been no reports of any injuries.

The ship ran aground during a cruise from the port of Piraeus to the nearby islands of Aegina, Poros and Hydra.

The mayor of Poros, Dimitris Stratigos, said the Greek-flagged vessel was stranded in an inlet about three nautical miles (5.5km) from the island's port.

After the Giorgis began to take on large amounts of water, an operation to evacuate the passengers and crew was launched by the coast guard and the local authorities, he added.

Passengers evacuated from the Giorgis arrive in Poros (13 March 2008)
The rescued passengers were taken to a naval facility on Poros

"The evacuation is finished and we are making the final checks to make sure everyone is safe," an official from the merchant marine ministry later told the Reuters news agency.

There were reportedly 103 Japanese, 58 Americans and 56 Russians, and around 30 Britons aboard, among others. There were also 35 crew.

The Greek navy said the rescued passengers had been taken to a naval training facility on Poros, where its medical staff had set up temporary shelters.

Last April, two French tourists were killed when a cruise ship with 1,600 people on board ran aground on rocks off the Greek island of Santorini. The ship's captain and five other crew members were charged with negligence.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Footage of the ship



SEE ALSO
'Human error' in Greece sinking
10 Apr 07 |  Europe
Country profile: Greece
08 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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