updated 11/2/2007 11:04:26 AM ET 2007-11-02T15:04:26

The operators of a cruise ship that sank in April, killing two passengers, blamed an error in official maps Thursday for the accident off the Greek island of Santorini.

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The Sea Diamond hit rocks off Santorini on April 5 and sank hours later. Some 1,600 people, mostly American tourists, were evacuated from the ship, but two French passengers were never found and are presumed drowned.

Operator Louis Hellenic Cruise on Thursday said it commissioned a seabed survey of the accident area and found rocks that the ship struck were not on official charts.

"The ship's captain maintained a distance of 130 meters from the shore and should have been 57 meters clear of the rocks. But something very different happened," said George Koubenas, the company's head of operations.

In June, the government fined the Cypriot-owned operator $1.7 million for polluting the Aegean Sea.

Louis did not say whether it would take any legal action against the government over the map, but said it had informed authorities about the discrepancy.

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