Bereaved relatives move to freeze assets of Hellenic Register execs

Trade Winds

15/02/2002

Bereaved relatives move to freeze assets of Hellenic Register execs

Relatives of the 24 seafarers who died in the 1994 sinking of the ore carrier Iron Antonis are trying to get a whopping EUR 24.6m ($12.8m) in compensation from the Hellenic Register of Shipping (HRS).

Piraeus lawyer George Trantalides says on 4 March the courts will hear an application  to freeze assets of four current and former HRS executives for up to the amount claimed.

The 1968 – built Iron Antonis sank with all hands in September 1994. The ship was on a loaded voyage from Tubarao Brazil to China.

During the initial criminal hearings, HRS was accused of negligence after it issued provisional class certificates for the vessel in June 1994 even though it was aware it had been declassed by Bureau Veritas (BV).

In December, Greece’s Supreme Court accepted that a hearing against shipowner Antonis Eliopoulos was time- barred, leaving the owner free of any legal penalty.

Former HRS executive Dionyssis Melissinos, one of the four named in the civil action, had an initial five –year sentence reduced to a suspended two – and – a – half years in an appeal. He has another appeal pending in the Supreme Court.

Triantafyllos Lysimachou, the HRS president at the time of the sinking, is also named in the compensation suit. He was acquitted at the first court hearing in February last year.

Trantalides, who is representing all the claimants, will not say whether he is optimistic that his clients will get what they are asking for.

He says HRS’s insurer might look to settle out of court.

GILLIAN WHITTAKER

Athens