Posted on September 20, 2023
Christos Stylianidis took over as Greek Shipping and Island Policy Minister on12 September and has the job of handling the fallout from the death of a 36-year-old ferry passenger that caused widespread outrage across the country.
Stylianidis, who has previously served as EU commissioner and Greek Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister, was passed the ministry after his predecessor Miltiadis Varvitsiotis stepped down in connection to the recent death of Antonis Karyotis as he tried to board a ferry in Piraeus.
Video footage of the incident shows crew members of the Blue Horizon ferry, owned by Attica group, doing nothing to help save the man who had been pushed from a loading ramp into the water while trying to board the vessel following an apparent altercation with the deckhands. Karyotis was later found dead in the water.
Varvitsiotis faced a backlash for appearing to sympathise with the crew members on Greek television. He later apologised, saying his comments had been misinterpreted but the incident snowballed into a political issue. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also weighed in on the death describing his “disgust and horror” at the death.
A prosecutor decided on the pre-trial detention for two of the four crew members involved, including the ferry’s captain. One crew member has been charged with homicide while the captain is facing charges of severely breaching shipping regulations.
In a move to express solidarity with the family of Karyotis, ferry workers walked off the job on 13 September morning, launching a 24-hour strike. The Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO), decried the incident in an announcement and indicated the actions of the deckhands on the ferry go against the sector’s professional and moral standards.