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Survivors of Greek shipwreck sue fleet owners

The Greek ferry, Express Samina, in the port of Pireus shortly before the accident


The seven Swiss survivors of a Greek shipping accident in which 82 people died last year, have filed a lawsuit against the fleet owners and have confined two of the fleets' boats to docks as a guarantee.

The Swiss join several of the other 418 survivors in bringing charges against the owners of the Express Samina, which sank last September off the Greek coast.

The claimants' lawyer, Ilias Bissias, said the trial could open at the beginning of February, but that it could take several years before the claimants receive any money.

Parallel to the court case, the lawyer has entered into negotiations with the Minoan Flying Dolphins (MFD), who own Samina, to try and reach an out of court settlement.

"We are looking to obtain an accord with MFD," Bissias said. "If their offer is interesting, we can envisage coming to some form of an agreement."

"We will be very satisfied if we could get between SFr30,000 and SFr50,000 for each claimant, not including compensation for loss of property." In this case, Bissias said the procedure would be halted.

Last September, the Express Samina sank after it hurtled into a reef in the Aegean Sea with 500 people on board. A number of survivors are suing the MFD for "putting the passengers in danger".

swissinfo with agencies

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