Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Greek ferry accidents 2008

Greek ferry accident

NEL’s ‘Theofilos’ overnight ferry to Mytilini, Lesbos has run aground near Inousses with 478 passengers on board. At this time, there are no reported injuries, but helicopters, boats and planes have been sent to the scene as a precautionary measure.

Timing of this incident comes on the heels of a heated debate between ferry operators claiming a 70 percent increase in expenses due to rising fuel costs and the Ministry calling for restraint to stave off a decease in tourism. It is also dangerously close to the beginning of high season. Only Minoan and Blue Star said they would keep prices stable until the end of summer 2008 or cut fares, but the majority of carriers have raised ticket prices by 10-33 percent.

Louis Cruises’ Sea Diamond that sank off the coast of Santorini on April 5, 2007 has still not been recovered and salvaged, despite the protests of environmental groups. Stricter legislation on maintenance and aging ferries to insure the safety of passengers after the Express Samina killed 78 in 2000, in addition to a number of other accidents that same year, was eased in 2006.

* Note: Everyone was safe, but obviously someone took a shortcut (as cretan runner says in his comment) and didn’t consult a map to understand it wouldn’t work. It was a narrow pass, and there was a reef. “Crew gives different accounts

Other accidents at sea in Greece

“Two ferryboats collide in Andros” (link broken) — July 23, 2008
Passenger ferry hits reef in Kythera
Two cruise ships collide in Piraeus
Crystal cruise ship rams Lissos ferry
Smashed window injures passenger on Greek hydrofoil
Problem with Flying Cat sends 110 passengers to transfer 2-3 times over 24 hours
Pleasure boat to Spetses sinks
“Prevelis rams Despotiko islet off of Karpathos” – Sept 6, 2009

Photo from AP


  ismini wrote @ June 29th, 2008 at 00:06

its actually Samina not Salamina the name of the ferry that was involved in the disaster just a few miles of the Paros port.

Kat Reply:

You’re right. It was a typo on my part. I’ve not gotten more than 3-4 hours of sleep per night in the past 10 days since our AC has been broken, and I still work full-time, cook and write in 39C heat. I’d much rather be in the UK about now.

  Greece Insider wrote @ June 30th, 2008 at 16:46

Liked your post and your blog’s attitude in general. Added you to my blogroll. Just saying hi. So, hi. 🙂

  Dora wrote @ June 30th, 2008 at 17:02

It’s amazing there are not more ferry accidents. When we travel to our island, Patmos in the Dodecanese, the ferries are triple booked in which fights ensue, and the ferry operaters are idiots who make mistakes in which fights ensue. Years ago, on the Dane line, we spent 9 hours sitting on the floor of the 3rd class deck (the only ticket we could get) with all manner of folk and their goats, while the 2nd class travelers above us flicked their ashes over the rail and onto our heads and into whatever food we could manage to find on board. The only thing the other passengers could say was, “This is Greece”, and shrug.

  Kat wrote @ June 30th, 2008 at 21:15

D – I hear you. For the most part, I don’t travel to the islands in summer because it’s too crowded for my taste, but I once had a friend visiting and we went to Crete. I told her we needed to get a seat, even if it was in the smoking area (I don’t smoke) so we don’t sit on the floor. Boy, there were a lot of people laying in the aisles with their crap everywhere, which of course really isn’t safe if there’s a need to evacuate in a hurry and the ferry is triple booked as you said. Can you imagine the bum rush? Never been on board with goats, just chickens.

I noticed that people are getting a bit more aggressive in complaining, and a lot of people will join in when they see one person take the initiative.

  cretan runner wrote @ July 1st, 2008 at 00:29

In the news, the CEO of NEL kept saying that this was a tragic human mistake… What he didn’t tell us and someone could easily understand why, is, that the companies give “orders” to the captains to sail from the shortcuts in order to save fuel…

I remember that 4 years ago I went to Crete with 13 euros (student price) and now I need more than 20…As for the ships, in the previous years we had some really high quality and fast ships in the Peiraeus-Chania line…Now ANEK brought back some old ships for cost reasons…Instead of moving forward we took steps back…

And all that because of the f**ing oil prices…

  Vasiliki wrote @ July 1st, 2008 at 21:15

Looks like everyone’s experience on a Greek ferry boat is about the same: fighting for a chair, lying on the ground, flicking off cigarette ashes and shielding yourself from the sun and wind. Ah, those were the good old days!

Nowadays, your experience is the same only you’re expected to pay twice as much.

I am curious if anyone has any stats on how the increase in gas prices has affected tourism in Greece? I have been saving for an airline ticket since 2005 (and they keep going up). My husband and I are hoping to make it to Greece in 2009, but we expect to pay about $4000 to get there (we plan on going in early September of 2009). Once we are there, I hope we’re not paying $100 for a ferry boat to Santorini!

  maria v wrote @ July 2nd, 2008 at 08:33

i feel very safe traveling on ANEK boats, but the service is crap. it was good only during a certain period when there was a competitor’s ship running the same trip (chania-pireaus). when they left due to lack of customers (ANEK pushed them out), the service became crap again. ever since i got married, i’ve never travelled 3rd class (15 years ago, we would be packed like sardines on deck), always with a cabin, and we always check first if we can get a cheap flight because it’s so much quicker – and never with olympic, always with aegean!

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