House President pays tribute to Mari disaster victims, saying they acted “beyond the call of duty”

The state has a duty to apply a comprehensive system to coordinate all the necessary services and introduce high-level training for all those involved in safety matters, as a form of atonement for what went wrong and led to a deadly explosion at the naval base in Mari which killed 13 persons, House President Demetris Syllouris said here today.

There can be no complacency and no postponement can be justified in taking measures, when action is necessary, he said in a speech at a memorial service for the 13 Cypriots from the National Guard, the Fire Department and EMAK who were killed on July 11, 2011 during a powerful explosion in containers full of explosives which were kept at the naval base “Evangelos Florakis” in Mari.

The shock wave from the explosion, which also injured many, caused huge damage to the nearby power plant at Vasiliko, with serious fallout on the economy.

In the years that followed the blast, six persons, including two Ministers, were brought to justice. Four, including the then Minister of Defence, were given jail sentences in connection with the explosion on charges of causing death due to unreasonable or dangerous acts. The Minister of Defence was also found guilty of manslaughter due to neglect. The then Minister of Foreign Affairs was acquitted.

The House President said that coordination and training are essential to make sure that such tragic events do not happen again.

We need to work collectively and hard to safeguard the protection and welfare of the people, Syllouris added.

He praised the heroes of Mari and all the firemen for their dedication and altruism, saying they acted beyond the call of duty.

The 11th of July is one of the most tragic days in the modern history of Cyprus, he said, adding that apart from the sacrifice of those who were on duty on the day of the explosion, the days that followed were especially dramatic.

We honour their memory, we recognize their sacrifice in the line of duty and express our support to their families, pledging that we will not allow such a tragedy to be repeated, he added.

Addressing the plenary of the House of Representatives this morning, Syllouris said the House pays its respects to the fallen members of the National Guard, sailors and firemen and expresses its full support to the families of the victims. We are committed to cooperating with every competent authority and institution to prevent such tragic events in the future, he noted.

The members of the House observed a one-minute’s silence in honour of the victims of the Mari disaster.

Source: Cyprus News Agency