Of The Cruise Ship Sea Diamond
Michael Hipler who shot vivid images of the five-deck, 469-foot-long Greek cruise ship Sea Diamond after it struck a rocky
outcrop and sank in a volcanic caldera at the Island of Santorini, said he could not believe what he was watching.
was April 5, 2007 and Hipler was aboard a second cruise liner, the Aegean Two, which was arriving at the same island port
of Thia and following the same four-day course, taking passengers on a week-long island-hopping cruise in the Aegean Sea.
said he didn’t like the lines of the Sea Diamond even though it was a newer and faster ship than the vessel he chose
to take on the cruise. “After we left Iraklion the Sea Diamond overtook us on the way to Santorini. At high speed the
proud ship did throw a high bow wave while plowing through the quite calm sea. Even though I am not fond of her lines I was
considerate enough to take a video of her passing us,” he wrote.
the top deck of the Aegean Two, Hipler said he stood with his brother, watching the Sea Diamond “making her last move
under her own power. I said to my brother that from this angle her bow looked definitely even more ugly, as due to the curve
of her fat short bow, the tip of the bow seemed to point downwards.”
long before Hipler realized this was not an optical illusion. The Sea Diamond had rammed a rocky reef and ripped a hole in
her side. The ship was taking on water and taking on a distinct starboard list. From this vantage point Hipler photographed
the disaster unfolding in front of his eyes.
decks of the Sea Diamond chaos broke out as the 1,195 passengers, mostly Americans and Canadians, felt the tilting of the
deck and received word on the ship’s intercom that the vessel was taking on water. Everyone was instructed to put on
life jackets and prepare to get off the ship.
the doomed liner was already at its planned anchorage of Thira and a flotilla of local tenders were already surrounding it,
preparing to take off passengers. Hipler noticed that the Sea Diamond did not drop her anchors, and consequently drifted back
into the reef which caused it to list even farther. He said a powerful tug was used to pull it free of the reef the second
were forced to disembark using rope ladders thrown over the side of the listing ship. Hipler
said he also saw them escaping through a hatch in the hull and another larger hatch in the stern. They dropped into the waiting
boats and the ship’s own lifeboats.