Greek ship runs aground, passengers evacuated (Lead)

June 29th, 2008 - 7:33 am ICT by IANS  

Athens, June 29 (DPA) A Greek ferry that hit a rocky islet in the Aegean Saturday managed to sail safely to shore after being escorted by dozens of Coast Guard boats, planes and helicopters, the Greek merchant marine ministry said. Rescuers rushed to the ship Theofilos, which was making a scheduled voyage from the Aegean island of Mytilini to Hios with 475 passengers and 97 crew, when the vessel ran aground on a rocky islet.

The ship managed to sail slowly to the small port of Oinousses, an island about 14 nautical miles from the island of Hios.

Smaller boats had transferred passengers from the vessel to the port, the ministry said.

The ship had suffered a gash in the hull, and oil appeared to be leaking. Authorities could not say how much oil was leaking.

The crew initially directed passengers to lifeboats but then called off the evacuation when it became clear that the ship could continue sailing safely to shore.

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