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Greek Holiday Island Threatened by Cruise Oil Spill; 'We Know of No Plan, The Timetable, Nothing'

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ATHENS, Greece -- The popular Greek holiday island of Santorini is threatened by an oil slick leaking from a cruise ship that sank near its shores over two weeks ago, a Greek daily reported on Sunday.

Ethnos daily reported that the oil slick had broken through floating barriers to spread to a distance of five kilometres (three miles) from the site of the shipwreck, a bay near the island port of Fyra.

Santorini's regional governor told the newspaper that the government had not indicated what it intended to do about the estimated 450 tonnes of fuel believed to be contained in the Greek-flagged ship's tanks.

"We know of no plan, which company will handle the operation, the timetable, nothing," said Dimitris Bailas, prefect of the Cycladic islands that Santorini is part of. "We have not even been told what chemicals are on board."

On Saturday, the head of Greenpeace in Greece accused the government of "criminal" delays.

"Two weeks have gone by, and no decision has been made (to drain the fuel)," Greenpeace Hellas director Nikos Haralambidis told Ta Nea daily. "This delay is criminal."

The 143-metre (472-foot) cruise ship, Sea Diamond, sank on April 6 several hours after hitting a reef as it was preparing to dock at Santorini.

Some 1,600 passengers and crew were safely evacuated, but two French passengers, a 45-year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter are still missing.

Santorini is one of Greece's top travel destinations, visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, and local authorities have threatened to sue the ship's owners for damage to the island's economy and environment.

The Sea Diamond's operators, Cyprus-based Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines, on Sunday took out full-page advertisements in newspapers to insist they were taking "all necessary clean-up measures."

"We immediately sent the best clean-up company on site, and (the operation) is proceeding speedily at our own cost," Louis said. "We are taking every measure to minimise consequences to the environment.

The Sea Diamond's captain and five officers have been charged with causing a shipwreck through negligence, breaching international shipping safety regulations and polluting the environment.

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