On the 6th of
December more allegations of shady practices behind the scenes emerged
when the expert investigator heading the inquiry into the disaster
- Ilias Stephanakos - handed in his resignation saying he had received
death threats and other warnings to quit the Express Samina
probe. He is quoted as saying ''I believe that I have disturbed some
people very much," His resignation came a few hours after the
lawyer defending the ship's first mate claimed that Mr. Stephanakos
was psychologically unfit to conduct the enquiry, having suffered
from severe depression after an accident in a fire eight years previously.
Meantime, the enquiry report has yet to be published, but leaks suggest
that it details incriminating evidence against the captain and first
mate, the merchant marine ministry, the coastguard, and vessel's owner
Minoan Flying Dolphins. It is said to conclude that the Express
Samina was unseaworthy as it suffered mechanical and electrical
problems. The report is also said to catalogue serious safety violations
by a crew allegedly not trained to conduct emergency evacuation and
A second individual
expressing safety fears is one of Minoan Flying Dolphins' superintendent
engineers - Antonis Sorokos. After claiming that the Express
Samina had serious mechanical problems with its systems for controlling
the vessel's speed and direction, he is reported to have visited the
Piraeus public prosecutor's office to apply for a gun permit,
citing fears for his own and his family's safety. He is also reported
to have taken out a one billion drachma life insurance policy.
In a further twist
to this aspect of the Express Samina story, GA Ferries president
George Agoudimos is also claimed to have requested police protection
due to fears for his safety. In his case the cause would appear to
be autobiography that allegedly contains incriminating evidence against
politicians and other powerful figures in the Greek establishment.
Agoudimos reportedly warned that if anything happens to him or his
family, his autobiography will be made public.