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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Captain of Cruise Ship Faces Negligence Charges in Wreck

ATHENS -- The captain of a cruise ship that sank off an Aegean Sea island, sending more than 1,500 passengers and crew onto rescue boats, was charged Saturday with causing a shipwreck through negligence.

The 143-meter Sea Diamond sank into the sea after hitting a well-marked and charted reef on Thursday, in fair weather, inside the Greek island of Santorini's sea-filled volcanic crater.

The ship's Greek captain was also charged with breaching international shipping safety regulations and polluting the environment, a Merchant Marine Ministry spokeswoman said.

Another five officers were questioned, but the spokeswoman was unable to confirm a televised report that they also had been charged. All six were set free, but will provide new testimony next week.

The ship had been minutes away from docking under the spectacular cliffs that make Santorini one of Greece's top tourist destinations. It was carrying 1,154 tourists, most from the United States, and 391 crew members.

The stricken vessel was evacuated in a three-hour operation, but Jean-Christophe Allain, 45, and his daughter Maud, 16, from Doue-la-Fontaine in western France were listed as missing, feared to have been trapped in their flooded lower-deck cabin.

A three-day search has found no trace of them; officials said a robot submarine would investigate the hulk -- lying more than 100 meters below the water's surface -- next week.

Greek newspapers were critical Saturday in their reporting of the accident.