A ferry’s captain and three crew members are now facing homicide charges in connection with the tragic demise of a passenger, Antonis Karyotis, who met his end after being forcibly ejected from the departing vessel at the Piraeus port.
The ferry’s captain, along with the first mate and two additional crew members, is set to appear before a Piraeus prosecutor for the formal filing of charges on Wednesday, reported Ekathimerini.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has expressed his “disgust and horror” over the incident which led to the death of 36-year-old, Antonis Karyotis, who drowned in Piraeus port after he was pushed back by crew members off a ferry ramp.
“The mind can’t comprehend it, an inconceivable tragedy that no morality can tolerate,” Mitsotakis said.
“Yesterday’s shameful event does not represent the country we want. And I believe that no Greek woman and no Greek man would want to see it as its image in the mirror of reality.”
This incident, captured on video and widely circulated on social media, has ignited outrage throughout the nation.
The footage depicted the passenger rushing onto the loading ramp of the Blue Horizon ferry, which was still docked on the quay and had begun to cast off its moorings. He attempted to bypass two crew members who blocked his path and physically removed him from the ramp.
Upon his return to the ramp, one of the crew members again intervened and forcibly pushed him off as the ferry was pulling away, causing the passenger to disappear into the widening gap between the vessel and the quay.
Shockingly, the crew members did not offer any assistance, and the ferry proceeded towards the island of Crete before being ordered to return to Piraeus.
The coast guard reported that the man was found unconscious in the harbor waters and was later pronounced dead. Preliminary findings from the autopsy of the 36-year-old victim indicate that the cause of death was “drowning in seawater.” The deceased also exhibited head injuries and abrasions, with the results of a toxicology examination still pending.
Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis expressed his profound shock and sorrow over the incident. He described the actions of the detained crew members as “a disgraceful affront to Greek mariners.”
Varvitsiotis revealed that the passenger had a valid ticket and had boarded the ship shortly before the incident unfolded. He inexplicably dashed off the ferry and then attempted to reboard. The minister has initiated an investigation into the response of the port police to the incident.
Additionally, Varvitsiotis has ordered a formal administrative inquiry into the actions of the Piraeus Port Authority during the incident. Port Authority sources have disclosed that an official was in the vicinity but not stationed at the boarding ramp. They also confirmed that the ramp should have been raised before the ship’s engines were activated, and the Port Authority has recorded this violation.
Attica Group, the company that owns the Blue Horizon ferry, issued a brief statement expressing their devastation over the tragic event and pledging full cooperation with the authorities.
Piraeus stands as Greece’s largest port and serves as the primary gateway for millions of travelers visiting the Aegean Sea islands and Crete annually.