Crew Pushes Man Trying to Board Ferry Into Water

Greek government expresses shock at passenger's death
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2023 5:38 PM CDT
Crew Pushes Man Trying to Board Ferry Into Water
The ferry boat Blue Horizon is docked during seamen's unions strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, in 2018.   (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)

A Greek island ferry captain and three of his crew faced homicide charges Wednesday over the death of a tardy passenger who was pushed by crew members into the sea as he tried to force his way onto the departing vessel in the country's main port of Piraeus. The incident captured on a video and shared on social media sparked anger across the maritime country. It showed the passenger running onto the Blue Horizon ferry's loading ramp, which was still down and in place on the quay, as the ship had cast off its moorings and was about to leave. He tried to push past two crew members on the ramp who stopped him and manhandled him onto the quay, the AP reports.

When the man once again stepped onto the ramp, one crew member stopped him and pushed him off as the ferry was departing, with the man vanishing into the growing gap between the vessel and the quay. The crew appeared to do nothing to help him, and the ferry continued sailing toward the island of Crete before being ordered back to Piraeus. The coast guard said the man was recovered unconscious from the harbor waters and later pronounced dead. An autopsy was underway to determine the precise cause of death. Greece's minister for merchant marine, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, expressed "shock, horror and sorrow" Wednesday at the incident, per the AP.

Varvitsiotis told Parapolitika radio that the behavior of the detained crew members was "a vile insult to Greek seamen." He said the man had a ticket and had boarded the ship shortly earlier, dashed out for unclear reasons and then tried to reboard. Varvitsiotis also said he ordered an investigation into how port police responded. Attica Group, which owns the Blue Horizon, issued a brief statement saying it was "devastated by the tragic incident" and would cooperate with the authorities. The ferry's captain, first mate, and two more crew members were due to appear before a Piraeus prosecutor to be formally charged later Wednesday.

(More Greece stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.