In a harrowing incident that has triggered outrage across Greece, a captain and three crew members of an island ferry are facing homicide charges, convicted of pushing a tardy passenger into the turbulent sea at the primary port of Piraeus, causing his untimely demise.
Coming to terms with the nightmarish reality, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Greece’s Minister of Merchant Marine, articulated his profound bewilderment, revulsion and grief. The allegedly mishandled passenger was identified as 36-year-old, Andonis Kargiotis.
In a bone-chilling video that has since gone viral on social media platforms, Kargiotis can be seen making a desperate attempt to board the already departing Blue Horizon ferry. The held-back passenger was seen scampering onto the still-docked loading ramp, trying to outmaneuver two crew members who thwarted his frantic attempts by forcibly seizing him and commending him to the quay.
Undeterred, Kargiotis made a second attempt to mount the retracting ramp, only to be intercepted and shoved off into the widening chasm between the ferry and the quay by an unyielding crew member, resulting in his disappearance into the turbulent waters, vigorously stirred by the ferry’s mighty propellers.
To the onlooker’s disbelief, the crew made no effort to extend a saving hand, implying a chilling indifference as the ferry charted its course towards Crete, only to be ordered to reroute back to Piraeus. As suspected damage control, an announcement masking their callous negligence was made onboard claiming that the delay the passengers were experiencing was due to an incident the ferry bore no responsibility for.
The helpless victim was later dredged from the harbor waters, unconscious, and was pronounced dead. A subsequent autopsy concluded drowning as the cause of death.
In a sermonizing post on social media, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis lambasted the irresponsibility that cost the man his life. He dubbed the repugnant incident as an intolerable blend of cynicism, indifference and a blatant disregard for life, going on to affirm that such conduct is not representative of the nation they aspire to develop.
Varvitsiotis denounced the crew for their illicit actions and their patent disregard for the age-honored principle upheld by Greek seamen to save lives at sea rather than tossing them to the mercy of the unforgiving waters, particularly in such dire circumstances.
The victim, Kargiotis, was reported to have rightfully boarded the ferry with a valid ticket, disembarking under mysterious circumstances only to make futile attempts to get back onboard. Varvitsiotis has reportedly commissioned an inquiry into the port police’s response to the life-costing incident.
After initially lamenting over the misfortune and expressing willingness to cooperate with resulting investigations, a more formal statement was issued by the ferry’s owner, Attica Group. The statement expressed dismay and pledged to dive into the monstrous incident.
Later on Wednesday, the ferry’s captain, first mate, and two other crew members were summoned before a Piraeus magistrate to officially receive their charges.
The port of Piraeus, marked by this woeful incident, is Greece’s foremost port and acts as a popular corridor for travelers thronging to the country’s Aegean Sea islands and Crete.