Greece’s shipping and island policy minister, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, on Monday resigned after facing backlash over comments he made about an incident involving the drowning of a ferry passenger at the port of Piraeus last week.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accepted his resignation.
As announced by government representative Pavlos Marinakis, Varvitsiotis’ post has been taken over by Christos Stylianides.
Varvitsiotis announced his resignation on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, in the wake of the murder of 36-year-old Antonis Karyotis, who was pushed into the sea by crew members of the Blue Horizon ship, right when it was about to depart for Crete. Karyotis then drowned as the ferry departed from the port. The Blue Horizon’s captain, first officer, second officer and bosun were later arrested.
The now former shipping minister caused outrage with televised comments he made the day after the incident and was accused of expressing sympathy for the crew members that pushed the man.
Varvitsiotis said his comments was misinterpreted.
“I have become the target of an attack that is becoming more and more toxic,” he said in his resignation post on X.
“A statement of mine, which was easily misinterpreted, caused outrage. I immediately apologized sincerely. In no way did I equate the victim with the perpetrators. In no way did I wash away the responsibilities that the ship-owning company has, and which it still refuses to assume.”
Blue Horizon’s captain and first officer remanded in custody
Meanwhile, the captain and first officer of the Blue Horizon ferry are to be remanded in custody for the death of Karyotis. An investigator and a prosecutor disagreed on whether or not to remand the second officer and the bosun so they were released. According to reports, the final decision will be taken by the judicial council.