Authorities ‘handling’ ferry snags

The government stressed yesterday that it has taken all the necessary measures to tackle a spate of engine problems that have caused delays in coastal shipping as the number of people leaving Piraeus and other ports for island holidays rises dramatically. «There have been 7,000 departures from Attica’s ports in the past two months and so it is natural for there to have been some engine failures. But all the necessary action was taken and not one passenger failed to reach their destination,» Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said after talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. According to figures made public by Kefaloyiannis yesterday, there has been a steady drop in the number of engine failures suffered by passenger ships every year, dropping from 46 in 2000 to 26 in 2005 and just 12 so far this year. Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said experts had forecast an 8 percent rise in arrivals this year and stressed that the government would «efficiently meet these increased needs.»