Semester at Sea captain dies on ship

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The captain of the Semester at Sea vessel for four voyages has died, the program announced on its Web site Monday.

The ship is expected to arrive on schedule in St. Petersburg, Russia, today, according to the announcement.

"It is with deep sadness that we report that, today, Capt. Antonios Kritikos has suddenly passed away while on board the MV Explorer," the announcement dated July 4 read. "Faculty, staff, and students have been informed of the somber event and are joined together as a community to deal with the loss."

The Web site posting said the MV Explorer is now under the command of Capt. Kostantinos Siamantas "who has been working for many years alongside Capt. Kritikos and has extensive knowledge of the vessel."

Kritikos, 59, died of an apparent heart attack, said Semester at Sea spokesman Paul Watson. The death will cause no changes in the semester's itinerary, he said.

St. Petersburg will be the third port-of-call for the vessel that embarked June 17 from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Other stops included Reykjavik, Iceland, and Bergen, Norway. The semester concludes Aug. 21 with debarkation in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after stops in Gdansk, Poland; Antwerp, Belgium; London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Bilbao, Spain.

The University of Pittsburgh, which is breaking off its 24-year relationship with Semester at Sea, will continue to certify college credit for the shipboard university for three more terms, according to an out-of-court settlement announced last month.

The agreement resolved Semester at Sea's lawsuit against Pitt, filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, claiming the university had breached its contract when it abruptly severed ties with the program.

Pitt responded with a litany of charges and "grave concerns" about the safety of passengers on the MV Explorer, which in January got into trouble in rough seas in the North Pacific, although no passengers were seriously injured.

The ship has since undergone extensive repairs. On its Web site, the program vigorously defends the safety of the ship's design, management and operation.


Michael A. Fuoco can be reached at mfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1968.


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