By A. Tsimplakis
A shipping ministry-affiliated public ports authority intends to launch another international tender for the marine salvage of a state-of-the-art cruise ship that sank in Santorini's iconic Caldera 12 years ago, increasing the budgeted outlay seven-fold in the process.
The sum cited in a previous tender, which was declared null and void, was 50 million euros, with the ports authority now eying a payout of 350 million euros (plus VAT) for the salvage operation.
The raising of the "Sea Diamond" has been an on-again, off-again predicament for consecutive shipping ministry leaderships, while media and scientific speculation continues to focus on whether the shipwreck is a source of contamination for the Caldera's waters, as well as whether the vessel can be raised.
To date, no study has been published by a relevant institution, ship registry or faculty on whether specific and readily available engineering solutions can be employed to raise and remove the shipwreck.