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Greek passenger ship rescue operation ends, no injuries

ATHENS, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - An operation to rescue over 300 people from a Greek ship that ran aground in the Aegean Sea near Athens has been completed with no injuries reported, local officials said on Thursday.

"A total of 278 passengers and 35 crew members have been removed from the ship," a spokesman for the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said.

The small Giorgis cruise ship, carrying mostly Japanese, U.S. and Russian tourists, ran aground on a reef off the island of Poros, about 50 km (30 miles) south of Athens on Thursday morning.

The boat had been heading for the islands of the Saronic Gulf.

"The evacuation of the passengers has successfully ended. No one was injured," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website.

Seven helicopters and a military transport plane, as well as coastguard vessels and more than a dozen other boats were involved in the rescue operation.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that a total of 56 Russians had been on board the boat.

The incident comes less than a month after a Russian Navy vessel carrying 88 crew members sent a call of distress from the Aegean Sea, about 13 nautical miles off the coast of Ikaria after developing technical trouble. The boat was later towed to safety. No injuries were reported.

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