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Greece. Piraeus. Passenger pushed into the sea, ferry crew faced charges

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Greek prosecutors have brought criminal charges against a ferry captain and three crew members in connection with the death of a passenger who was pushed into the sea while trying to board a departing ship in the country’s main port, Piraeus.

As described by “The Guardian”, the recording of the incident shows a man running into the loading ramp of the Blue Horizon ferry, which was still abandoned and located on the quay of the port of Piraeus. Suddenly the ship dropped its moorings and was about to sail away. The man tried to avoid two crew members on the ramp, who stopped him and pushed him onto the quay.

When the man re-entered the ramp, one of the crew members pushed him off as the ferry was leaving. The man fell into the water between the ship and the quay. As the Guardian wrote, the crew appeared to do nothing to help him and the ferry continued towards Crete before being ordered to return to Piraeus.

Port of PiraeusAdobe Stock

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The coast guard reported that the man was fished unconscious from the port waters and was later pronounced dead. An autopsy showed that the cause of death was drowning.

Prime Minister: the shameful incident does not reflect the kind of country we want

In a social media post on Wednesday, the Prime Minister Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed regret for what he called “a combination of irresponsible behavior and cynicism, contempt and indifference” that led to the man’s death. “Yesterday’s shameful incident does not reflect the kind of country we want,” he added.

Greek Merchant Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis expressed “shock, horror and sadness” over the death of the passenger, identified as 36-year-old Andonis Kargiotis.

Varvitsiotis condemned the crew members for their “illegal actions” and failure to respect “the basic principle that Greek seafarers have honored for centuries”, which is to save people at sea. He said Kargiotis bought a ticket and boarded the ship early, left for unclear reasons and then tried to re-board. Varvitsiotis also said he had ordered an investigation into how port police responded to the incident.

Captain and three crew members charged

One crew member was charged with murder with intent, and two others with complicity. In turn, the captain was charged with serious violations of shipping regulations, state television ERT reported.

Attica Group, which owns Blue Horizon, initially issued a brief statement saying it was “devastated by the tragic incident” and would cooperate with authorities. In a longer statement released hours later, she expressed regret over Kargiotis’ death and pledged to investigate the “unimaginable” incident.

Piraeus is the largest port in Greece and the main base for millions of travelers visiting the Aegean islands and Crete each year.

Main photo source: Adobe Stock

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