The impact of the ‘Sea Diamond’ wreck on the marine ecosystem in Santorini is negligible, according to a report released by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research on Thursday. The report was based on research conducted between November 2010 and May 2011, in the fourth such annual report.
This found that there were no problems caused by the leak of fuel from the sunken ship and that the quality of the sea water — which is used by the desalination unit in Oia to produce drinking water — is excellent, while marine life in the area was healthy and fish that were fished near the wreck were safe for consumption and their concentration in heavy metals was found to be comparable to that of fish from all over Greece.
Further, the concentration of heavy metals in the sea was found also found to be the same as those traced in the open sea.
It is also noted that the approximately 450 tons of fuel that leaked into the sea after the Sea Diamond sank was cleaned up by a private company, with the bill footed by the owner company at a cost of 6 million dollars, while a floating barrier that has been placed in the area of the wreck is monitored daily by a pollution-control vessel staffed by specialised personnel, again at the shipowning company’s expense.
The annual inspections and reports were assigned to the Centre by the former Merchant Marine Ministry via a Presidential Decree in November 2002, with the cost covered by the shipowning company.
The cruise liner “Sea Diamond”, owned by Louis Hellenic Cruises, sank on April 6, 2007, a day after ramming into a reef and developing a list while sailing half a nautical mile from the Aegean island of Santorini in the Cyclades, with 1,195 passengers and 391 crew on board, who were safely evacuated with the exception of a French man and his teenage daughter, who were reported missing and presumed dead.
Experts later attributed the accident to a faulty map of the area by the hydrographic service that showed the reef to be located 57 meters from the coast and at a depth of 18-22 meters, whereas the reef in actuality was located 131 meters from the coast at a depth of just 5 meters, and the Sea Diamond’s captain was subsequently acquitted of causing the accident.