NEWS

In Brief

BOAT BLAZE

Fire on cruise vessel causes no injuries to 159 passengers aboard A fire broke out in the engine room of a cruise vessel carrying 159 passengers off the coastal resort of Porto Heli in the Peloponnese yesterday afternoon, but no one was injured. The blaze on the Kely Cruise was quickly extinguished by the crew and coast-guard officers aboard patrol boats which rushed to the scene. Nevertheless, the passengers were transferred onto another boat to resume their planned tour of Hydra and Spetses. It was unclear how the fire started. FIRE RISK Emergency services ready for 2nd day of strong winds, high temperatures The country’s fire service is in a high state of readiness for the second day today, following another warning by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection that strong winds and high temperatures will increase the risk of forest fires starting and spreading. Attica, Evia, Viotia, Corinth, Argolida, the Cyclades, Chios, Samos, Icaria, Hania and Lasithi are particularly at risk. On Samos, firemen managed to extinguish a forest fire which broke out on Monday night near Potami, on the island’s northwest coast, at around midnight, before it could spread. A small fire in a garbage dump on Lesvos yesterday morning was quickly extinguished. GREEK PRESENCE Archbishop wants churches on islets Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday called for Greek Orthodox chapels to be constructed on border islets in the Aegean. «There should be chapels on the islets so that we can strengthen our presence there,» the archbishop said during a visit to the eastern Aegean island of Samos. Roadworks Resurfacing works on the Kavalas Avenue bridge over the Kifissos River started yesterday and are expected to continue – from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. daily – until the end of the week. Meanwhile, works at Aghiou Ioannou Rendi Square, which are to continue until August 26, will necessitate diversions for Piraeus-bound traffic on Kifissou Avenue. Traffic will also be disrupted on Poseidonos Avenue, near the old Hellenikon airport, as works get under way to build a bridge. Boat injury An 8-year-old boy was injured on Monday evening when a plastic dinghy struck him on the shoulder as he was swimming off the coast of Pera Tsetoura, near the Cretan port of Iraklion, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. Dimitrios Vatsakis had been swimming with his father, around 100 meters from the coastline, when he was hit by the boat, being steered by Zacharias Papadakis, the ministry said. Police were yesterday seeking Papadakis, who carried the boy to shore but then disappeared. Surfer missing A rescue effort involving coast-guard vessels and a Super Puma rescue helicopter was yesterday launched off the coast of Karpathos following the disappearance of an unidentified surfer off the coast of the Dodecanesian island. Winds in the area had been blowing from 6 to 7 on the Beaufort scale. Gun licenses The deadline for applying for a shotgun license has been extended until July 23, 2004, following a decision by Greek police chiefs, which was made public yesterday. All gun owners who have not declared their weapons to forest authorities should submit the relevant documents by the new deadline, police said. Bear raid A pack of bears killed and devoured three mules in the village of Melissohori, in Drama, on Monday night, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. Groups of bears have been crossing into the mountainous district from neighboring Bulgaria over the last two weeks, according to the ANA. Migrants detained Coast-guard officials yesterday detained 29 illegal immigrants on Lesvos, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The migrants – 16 Somalis, three Indians, five Palestinians, four Sri Lankans and one Iranian – had been left at Nees Kydonies, on the island’s east coast, by a Turkish smuggling ship which subsequently returned to Turkey, the Merchant Marine Ministry said.