updated 5/8/2008 12:14:37 PM ET 2008-05-08T16:14:37

A Greek cruise ship carrying more than 1,200 people headed for an Aegean island Thursday for an emergency inspection after its hull was damaged, officials said.

  1. Don't miss these Travel stories
    1. Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors

      With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.

    2. Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
    3. Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
    4. MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
    5. Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year

The Ministry of Merchant Marine said the cruise liner Aquamarine had a 5-foot (1.5-meter) gash above the water line and was heading for the island of Milos at reduced speed.

Ministry spokesman Andreas Theofilou said the 872 passengers and 407 crew were not in any danger.

"There is no question regarding the safety of the ship or the people on board," he said.

Theofilou said the Aquamarine's captain informed ministry officials that the cruise ship scraped against a pier when sailing from its port of departure of Iraklio, Crete. The crew later inspected the hull and found the damage 8 feet (2.5 meters) above the water line.

"The ship has reduced speed and is expected to reach Milos in half an hour," Theofilou said.

The Aquamarine, which is operated by Louis Hellenic Cruises, had been heading for the resort island of Santorini, on the last day of a four-day cruise to the Aegean Sea islands and the Turkish port of Kusadasi.

Company spokesman Michalis Maratheftis said the ship brushed against the pier "due to winds and the absence of protective rubber fenders on the pier."

"The gash is well above the water line and there is no danger to the passengers," he said.

In April 2007, another cruise ship operated by Louis Hellenic hit rocks just off Santorini and sank hours later. Some 1,600 people, mostly American tourists, were evacuated from the Sea Diamond, but two French passengers were never found and are presumed drowned.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments