Athens — The captain of a Greek ferry and three of his crew face murder charges Wednesday in the death of a late-arriving passenger. and that he was thrown into the sea when he tried to get on the boat in Piraeus.
The incident, captured on video and spread on social media, unleashed fury across the country. It shows the passenger running down the Blue Horizon’s boarding ramp, which was still lying there after the ferry had released its restraints and was about to depart. The passenger tries to push his way between two crew members on the ramp, who struggle with him.
When the passenger gets back on the ramp, a crew member stops him and pushes him just as the ferry departs. The passenger disappears into the gap between the boat and the dock.
The crew appears to do nothing to save him, and the ferry continues towards the island of Crete before receiving orders to return to Piraeus.
The Coast Guard said the man was pulled from the water unconscious and later pronounced dead. An autopsy is being performed to determine the exact cause of death.
The Minister of the Merchant Navy of Greece, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, expressed “astonishment, horror and sadness” for the incident.
In statements to the Parapolitika radio station, Varvitsiotis declared that the conduct of the crew was “a vile insult to Greek sailors”.
He reported that the passenger had already purchased his ticket and had boarded the ship, but left for unexplained reasons and tried to return. Varvitsiotis said he ordered an investigation into the crew’s conduct.
Attica Group, the company that owns the Blue Horizon, issued a brief statement saying it is “devastated by the tragic incident” and is cooperating with authorities.
The captain, the first assistant and two other crew members of the ferry must appear before a prosecutor in Piraeus on Wednesday to be arraigned.
Piraeus is the largest port in Greece, and the main transit point for the millions of visitors traveling to the islands in the Aegean Sea and Crete.