Heads are rolling in Greece after a ferry crew’s callous behavior led to the death of a passenger. Greek shipping minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis resigned just three months into his job, stating that his political record and personal dignity compelled him to step down. Prior to his resignation, Varvitsiotis had already fired the Piraeus port master and another senior coastguard official for their failure to fulfill their duties in the incident. The CEO of the Attica Group, whose employees were responsible for the incident, also stepped down. However, these actions did little to quell public outrage, fueled by video footage showing Attica seafarers pushing the passenger as he tried to board the departing ship.
The victim, Antonis Karyotis, fell off the ship’s vehicle ramp and drowned after hitting his head on the quay. The crew of the Blue Horizon, the ferry involved, did nothing to help and the ship departed without stopping. Varvitsiotis further aggravated public opinion by expressing sympathy for the crew members accused of murder. Four seafarers, including the master of the Blue Horizon, are now facing manslaughter charges.
Varvitsiotis’s resignation was deemed “unavoidable and correct” by Greek government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis. He has been replaced by Christos Stylianidis, a former member of the European Commission for humanitarian crises. However, seafarer and coastguard labor unions have expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the situation and have called for a 24-hour ship strike to protest the unfair targeting of their profession and overworking of crews.