A Greek minister resigns after the scandal over the death of a passenger at the hands of a ship’s crew

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The Minister of Maritime Transport of Greece, Miltiadis Varvitsiotisannounced this Monday his dimision after the scandal over death of a ship passengerwhich was pushed into the water by crew members in the largest port of Athens on September 5. The death of the passenger of Greek nationality, Antonis Karyotis, was recorded by security cameras and by passengers of the boat. The images show Karyotis trying to enter the ship as the crew was preparing to raise the ramp to depart for the island of Crete. two workers They dragged him to the dock. The passenger tried to enter again and was pushed as the ship left, falling into the waters agitated by the boat’s propellers. Despite the alarm of several passengers, the crew did not do anything. no effort to rescue to Karyotis and continued sailing for an hour, until he received the order to return to port again. The victim was rescued unconscious in the port but she died minutes later. The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was drowning.

The Greek Prosecutor’s Office has brought charges for “homicide” and for “violating navigation regulations” against the captain of the boat and for “complicity” against the crew members who pushed the passenger, according to state broadcaster ERT. The captain of the ship declared that he followed the rules and that he alerted the Coast Guard when he learned of the incident. The crew members assumed what happened during their testimony, although they did not accept the charges against them.

For his part, Transport Minister Varvitsiotis expressed “shock, horror and sadness.” However, his statement before the press, in which he equated the victim with the workers who did not help her, has caused an uproar. social scandal which has led to his resignation. “Today there are people who are mourning the unjust losses, but the families of those who went to earn a daily wage and are now accused of murder are also mourning,” she declared, referring to the accused crew members. Varvitsiotis will be replaced by Christo Stylianidis, who was Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection during the previous government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The incident initially went unnoticed by the floods that the country has been suffering since last week, in which 15 people have died and more than 4,000 have been evacuated. However, videos of the incident have circulated on social networks, creating great social outrage, which has led to resignations and dismissals beyond the government. Two senior officials of the Piraeus port authority were dismissed on Thursday by order of the Ministry of Transport, while the general director of the Attica group, owner of the Blue Star Ferries ship chain, has also resigned.

It is not the first time that Blue Star Ferries is involved in a controversy over negligence. Last January, an investigation into hot returns of migrants revealed that the company would have locked in metal boxes and tied in the warehouse hundreds of migrants on tourist boats from Italy to Greece.

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