NEWS

Five die in ship blast

The burnt body of one of five maintenance workers who died in an explosion aboard a tanker anchored off Salamis on Saturday is lowered by firemen onto a launch. Three maintenance officials, the ship’s captain and a chemist who had certified that the holds of the Bahamas-flagged Sailor did not contain inflammable gas were charged yesterday with murder with possible intent for the deaths of Nikolaos Makroglou, 32, Polycarpos Papadopoulos, 44, Theodoros Politis, 47, Haralambos Bakos, 53, and Antonios Bakas, 57. They were trapped and burnt to death when they started soldering work in the tanker’s holds. They were all employed by the ‘Good Work’ maintenance company, whose chief engineer, Panayiotis Mitroulias, was badly burnt during the explosion. Outgoing Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis is certain to be elected general-secretary of the party, opening the way for a reshuffle that will involve senior ministers as well, unlike previous ones under Simitis. Laliotis was the top vote-winner in the election of Central Committee members and is likely to get the backing of both the reformists and the dissenters of the Old PASOK camp who would like to see the party return to its free-spending ways in order to connect with its grassroots supporters. Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos will hold one of these three seats in the party’s senior organ for day-to-day decisions. At the congress he challenged Simitis to the extent of saying that the party would give no one a blank check but then he backed down by not providing an alternative to Simitis’s policies.