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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Grief over ship tragedy, measures pledged
  • [02] ND: Condolences to maritime family
  • [03] Mammoth reconstructed in Oreokastro, Thessaloniki
  • [04] KKE demands ship fire probe
  • [05] Ship fire toll climbs to 9

  • [01] Grief over ship tragedy, measures pledged

    The government expressed grief over the loss of nine seamen, including three Greeks, in a Christmas Day fire aboard the Greek-owned bulk carrier Aegean Wind off the coast of Venezuela, and pledged that the causes and circumstances of the tragedy will be investigated in depth and all measures to avert such accidents in the future will be taken.

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli, in a message, expressed her "deep grief for the loss of our seamen, both Greek and foreign", and the government's "unconditional support to their families".

    "For our seamen traveling all over the world, the family warmth and peace of these holy days is not a given. The tragic event on the Aegean Wind confirms that, even on Christmas Day, danger lurks," Katseli said, adding that the ministry's services were mobilised from the first moment upon learning of the incident.

    She pledged that the causes and conditions of the tragedy would be investigated in depth, aimed at the taking of all measures deemed necessary to avert other such situations in the future.

    Caption: File photo of Prime Minister George Papandreou (L) with Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli. (ANA-MPA/P. Saitas)

    [02] ND: Condolences to maritime family

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) expressed grief over the tragedy on board a Greek bulk carrier off the coast of Venezuela on Christmas Day that claimed the lives of nine seamen, including three Greeks.

    ND press officer Panos Panagiotopoulos, speaking on behalf of ND leader Antonis Samaras and the entire party, expressed deep grief for the loss of the three Greek seamen and their six foreign colleagues in the fire on the Greek freighter off Venezuela.

    "We express our condolences to their families, and to our country's big maritime family, over this tragic loss," he added.

    Caption: File photo of main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras (L) with ND press spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos. (ANA-MPA/S. Pantzartzi)

    [03] Mammoth reconstructed in Oreokastro, Thessaloniki

    Visitors to the Museum of Mammoths that opened recently in the district of Oreokastro in Thessaloniki can see a reconstructed mammoth from 9-million-year-old fossilized bones, tusks and skull combined with artificial parts.

    The museum is the only one in the entire Balkan region that has on display fossilized remains of mammoths, the gigantic animals that lived in the Ice Age.

    A Dinosaurs' Park was also inaugurated in Oreokastro a few years ago based on an idea by Vassilis Michailidis, who is also the creator of the Mammoths Museum.

    [04] KKE demands ship fire probe

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) demanded a thorough investigation into the causes of the fire on board the Greek bulk carrier "Aegean Wind" off the coast of Venezuela on Christmas Day in which nine seamen died.

    Expressing its sorrow and support for the families of the sailors killed, KKE was also critical of the government for statements that appeared to exonerate the owners Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd of responsibility before any investigation had been carried out.

    The party stressed that it was unacceptable to "attribute the death of so many workers to bad luck, at a time when the number of employer crimes on land and at sea has radically increased."

    The policy that served competitiveness and the profitability of capital had led, in addition to a reduction in wages and the rolling back of basic labour rights, to dangerous working conditions, the KKE said.

    Caption: File photo of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga. (ANA-MPA/M. Kiaou)

    [05] Ship fire toll climbs to 9

    The death toll from a fire that broke out on board the Greek-owned freighter "Aegean Wind" on Christmas Day as it was sailing off Venezuela reached nine over the weekend as the bodies of the last three missing seamen were recovered.

    Six of nine merchant seamen reported missing after a fire on board the Greek bulk carrier "Aegean Wind", owned by Athens-based Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd., had been recovered dead by the Venezuelan coast guard early on Saturday.

    The discovery of another missing Filipino crew man later on Boxing Day, in addition to the three Greek seamen and two Filipinos already found earlier, had brought the overall tally of dead to six, while rescuers on Saturday evening found and recovered the bodies of the last three members of the crew still missing.

    Authorities have yet to discover what caused the fire, which began in the vessel's mess hall and quickly spread throughout the ship while it was sailing off the coast of Venezuela. The ship had a crew of 24, nine of them Greeks. It was laden with steel and had set off from Brazil heading for Houston, Texas.

    The fire, which broke out as the vessel was sailing 33 kilomters off the Venezuelan island of La Blanquilla, was put out on Friday night and a Greek coast guard officer is heading to Venezuela to assist the return of the Greek seamen to Greece.

    In addition to the nine casualties, five people sustained minor injuries, including two Greek crewmen and a Greek female trainee officer. They were taken to a nearby island for treatment.

    Caption: Hand-out photo of Greek bulk carrier "Aegean Wind". (EPA)


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