Islanders lose ferry service

The islands of the Cyclades will be left without the ferry service that usually connects them from tomorrow as the vessel plying that route has been deemed unseaworthy. The Panaghia Hozoviotissa failed an inspection and subsequently lost its safety certificate, joining the Panaghia Tinou, which was anchored in June for the same reason. Representatives from the islands yesterday stressed the seriousness of their situation during a meeting with Merchant Marine Ministry officials. Cyclades Prefect Dimitris Bailas insisted on immediate action to provide ferries for the islands, stressing that residents need to be able to depend upon regular service. «Residents of the Cyclades are being treated as second-class citizens,» Bailas remarked in a letter sent to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. A senior ministry official, Christos Kourousis, said that a new tender for so-called «unprofitable routes» had attracted several firms offering new vessels.