Tanker fire kills two workers

Two men were killed yesterday when a tanker ship undergoing repairs caught on fire in Perama, west of Athens, authorities said. The two men, aged 26 and 60, were killed when a fire broke out during welding work on the hull of the Panama-flagged tanker Alisa Craig at the Perama docks at about 10.40 a.m. None of the 90 workers completing repair work on board the ship’s deck were hurt. The vessel is believed to belong to Greek company World Carriers Corp. More than two dozen firefighters and rescuers and eight fire trucks were involved in the fight to extinguish the blaze, according to authorities. An overheated lamp is suspected as a likely cause of the fire, which was preceded by an explosion. Port authorities arrested the ship’s captain, the technician in charge of safety on the vessel and the supervisor in charge of the crew on which the two dead men worked. The coast guard has also launched a preliminary investigation into the incident while experts are expected to complete their report on the accident in coming days. The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), the country’s largest union group, called for the punishment of those responsible and improved safety measures. «The complete lack of checks of safety measures and the abolishment of employers’ records in the sector have led to today’s tragic event.» GSEE said. The dockworkers’ union will hold a 24-hour local strike today in protest against working conditions they say are unsafe. PASOK’s Maria Damanaki said the government needs a national policy aimed at helping to protect workers and prevent workplace accidents.

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