- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2007

12:51 p.m.

ATHENS (AP) — A listing cruise ship carrying nearly 1,600 people — most of them Americans — was being evacuated off the Greek island of Santorini today after striking rocks in a lagoon, authorities said.

No injuries were reported aboard the Sea Diamond, which apparently had hit a reef and was listing near the main port of the island.

The Merchant Marine Ministry said that 1,195 passengers and 391 crew members were onboard and that most had been evacuated safely.

The passengers were being transferred to a small ferry, which can hold 500 people. Witnesses said hundreds of people waited on the deck of the 469-foot Sea Diamond to be evacuated.

Thousands of tourists and residents watched the rescue effort from the volcanic island’s cliffs and port.

Louis Cruise Lines spokesman Michalis Martheftis said none of the people onboard was in danger. He said most of the passengers were Americans.

The Greek-flagged Sea Diamond was built in 1986 and refurbished in 1999.

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