Thousands of people in Greece expressed their shock and anger over the death of a ferry passenger who was pushed by members of the crew into the water in the port of Piraeus on Tuesday evening.
Rallies were held at the port of Iraklio, where the “Blue Horizon” ferry was docked, demanding justice for 36-year-old Antonis Kariotis. The crowd shouted “murderers” to the crew of the ferry and the ship owner company Attica Group.
The ferry’s departure to Piraeus was delayed by more than five hours.
A similar rally was held in Agios Nikolaos where Kariotis lived. Protesters expressed horror and disbelief at the incident.
A video that went viral on social media showed Kariotis running onto the ferry loading ramp, which was still down, and crew members stopping him and pushing him back three times.
The man fell into the sea, and despite passengers screaming that he was in the water, the ferry left as initially scheduled.
The ferry operators were later instructed by authorities to return to Piraeus. Kariotis’ body was eventually retrieved from the water.
Βίντεο σοκ: Το πλήρωμα έσπρωξε από το Blue Horizon στον θάνατο τον 36χρονο που σκοτώθηκε στο λιμάνι Πειραιά pic.twitter.com/FdzFTliZLg
— kakajason (@kakajason50) September 5, 2023
The Coast Guard said the man was recovered unconscious from the harbor waters and later pronounced dead. Initial results from the autopsy examination of the 36-year-old man showed that the cause of death was “drowning in seawater.”
The deceased also suffered some injuries and abrasions to the head. The results of a toxicology examination are pending.
Crew members face homicide charges for death of passenger in Greece
The ferry captain and three crew members appeared before a Greek prosecutor on Wednesday facing homicide charges.
The crew member who allegedly pushed the passenger faces charges of manslaughter with possible malice, while the other two crew members are being prosecuted for complicity in the manslaughter.
The captain faces charges of dangerous interference with maritime traffic, which is also a felony.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in a message posted on Facebook, expressed his “disgust and horror at the unimaginable end” of the passenger he identified as Antonis Kariotis.
Mitsotakis affirmed that all necessary measures would be taken to establish accountability and justice.
“The mind can’t comprehend it, [and it is] an inconceivable tragedy,” Mitsotakis said. “[Tuesday’s] shameful event does not represent the country we want.”
An internal investigation was ordered by Shipping and Island Policy Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis into the incident’s management by the Port Authority of Piraeus.
Port Authority sources told AMNA that an official was in the area but not in front of the boarding ramp. They added that the ramp should be up before the ship’s engines are turned on, and the Port Authority has registered the violation.
Speaking earlier in the day, Varvitsiotis said he felt “shock, abhorrence, and sadness.” The crew’s actions were “a terrible insult to Greek seamen of coastal shipping, that does not befit the principles of seamanship.”
The Minister said the victim had a ticket, had left the ship for unknown reasons, and then tried to board the ferry before it left.
In a statement, the ship’s operator Attica Group expressed deep shock and said they would “cooperate with all competent authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident.”