Nine arrested as probes are launched into deadly ferry fire

Nine people were arrested on Monday in connection with a fire on a passenger ferry in Drapetsona shipyard, southwest of Athens, in which one person died.

Authorities detained a safety supervisor, the ship’s captain and chief engineer, as well as six men responsible for the different crews that were carrying out repairs and maintenance on the High Speed 5. The fire broke out at around 1.30 p.m., possibly in the lounge area. The blaze spread rapidly, requiring dozens of firefighters to bring it under control by 4 p.m., after which a search discovered the body of the ship’s 50-year-old electrician in the lounge area.

Fire service and coast guard experts will be allowed onto the ship on Tuesday to conduct further investigations. According to sources, the work crews had been given permission to use welding torches, though it was not clear whether this played any part in the tragedy. The same sources suggested that the 50-year-old may have been trying to control the blaze with a fire extinguisher when the flames got the better of him.

Separately, the Labor Ministry has ordered an in-depth review of all the vessel’s repair and maintenance logs in a bid to ascertain what led to the electrician’s death.

All nine suspects were released pending the outcome of the preliminary investigations.

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