Express Samina Memorial

Dedicated to all of the lives

affected by the sinking of the

Express Samina Ferry

September 26th 2000

The Express Samina Ferry sank on September 26th 2000 at 10:00 PM. The ferry left Athens earlier that day and was to make 5 stops over a 17 hour period. The 345 foot ferry drifted off course due to mechanical malfunctions, a negligent captain, and rough seas. It struck the  rocks of the Portes Islet, 2 miles from the shore of Paros Island, and sustained irreparable damage. A hole was ripped in the starboard side of the ship causing it to sink in 38 minutes. Passengers were forced to jump into the rough waters, which at times reached 20 foot waves. There were few life jackets and fewer lifeboats. Of the 540 passengers, 79 lost their lives to the sea.

Το Φέρυ -Μπόουτ Express Samina βυθίστηκε στις 26 Σεπτεμβρίου στις 10 η ώρα το βράδυ. Είχε ξεκινήσει από την Αθήνα νωρίτερα την ίδια μέρα και επρόκειτο να κάνει 5 στάσεις μέσα σε 17 ώρες. Το πλοίο, που είχε μήκος 105 μέτρα, ξέφυγε από την πορεία του εξαιτίας μηχανικών βλαβών, αμέλειας του καπετάνιου και της θαλασσοταραχής. Προσέκρουσε στα βράχια της νησίδας Πόρτες, 2 μίλια από τις ακτές της Πάρου, και υπέστη ανεπανόρθωτη ζημιά. Προκλήθηκε ρήγμα στη δεξιά πλευρά του κύτους που προκάλεσε τη βύθιση του πλοίου μέσα σε 38 λεπτά. Οι επιβάτες αναγκάστηκαν να βουτήξουν στα κύματα, που έφταναν και τα 6 μέτρα. Υπήρχαν λίγα σωσίβια και ακόμα λιγότερες σωστικές λέμβοι. Από τους 540 επιβάτες οι 79 έχασαν τη ζωή τους στη θάλασσα.

Our trip has become our story, one of many I can assure you. Christine and I were friends back home in the United States and both wanted to take a trip, somewhere fun and exciting. We somehow decided on Israel, Eqypt and then Greece- to relax. Well, at least that's what we thought. 

Driving around Israel was amazing and very bonding, not just with each other but with ourselves. Then Egypt, awe inspiring is all I can say. A Country with so much history and so many marvels, it was enough to take our breath away. 

Oh, wait that was Greece. When we got to Greece we spent a couple of days soaking up the spirits in Plaka and exploring the Acropolis before deciding to ferry out to Santorini. However, when we arrived at the ferry terminal in the morning we were told we had missed our boat. I asked where we could go to instead and we were told we could catch the 5pm ferry to Paros. I wasn't familiar with Paros so I asked "where's that?" I quickly added "nevermind, I don't care, let's go!" Little did I know how much Paros was to become a part of my soul. 

We boarded the ferry under beautiful blue clear sunny skies. I took the first hour or so to walk around and get familiar with the boat. I took pictures of the life boats, I told Christine that if we "get in trouble out there we are screwed" ha ha, little did I know! It wasn't until around sunset that the weather changed and winds picked up. I had been told by friends who recently had spent their honeymoon in Greece that if we bought the cheap tickets for the ferry to expect to have to sit outside. This turned out not to be true, but it is why when the weather picked up we remained outside. This could also be a determinig factor in later saving our lives (Thanks Tom and Amy). 

After dark the weather became quite bad and I was not feeling well so I decided to take a nap, a sudden turning of the fery jolted me awake. Christine was standing by the railing and said we must be arriving as she could see the lights of town in the distance. I stood up, still wiping the sleep from my face, Christine and I were on the top deck about mid ship. We were to the only two people still outside in this area. Within a minute we both saw a large rock come out of the darkness. It was lit from above, tan and rough, it had an eerie feeling. The rock taller than the ship and encompassing our entire view came right up to the side of the ferry. We were standing only feet away from the rocks as the ferry collided and we could hear the rocks tearing down the side of the ship. The sound of metal twisting and ripping apart near the water line. I knew immediately this would be bad, that we would sink, that we would have to fight to stay alive. 

The ensuing minutes were terrifying and filled with darkness, flares, screaming and panic. We found a large box on deck tied shut with ropes but we were able to lift the lid a few inches and pull life jackets out. We handed them to the few people we saw and threw others on the deck to just get them out. Over the next 20 minutes or so the lights went on and off a few times before finally darkness, a few flares were sent into the dark night sky, people were screaming below deck and a few men were running about above deck. 

 It took us a while of watching people run to the back faster sinking part of the ship. We decided to go to the front. Christine and I were able to leap into the one and only lifeboat that actually made it to shore that night. Most people were forced to swim or find debris in the water to cling to. I watched the ferry quickly sink below the waters surface in the headlights that were then shining out to sea from the shore. The people of Paros were coming to save us. They has seen our flares and were coming. Those of us out in the wind and waves didn't know when or who was coming for us but we sure are glad they came.