DEFENCE MINISTER Fotis Fotiou took part in a ceremony on Wednesday to name the headquarters of the Underwater Demolition Unit (UDU) at the Mari naval base after Petty Officer Michalis Irakleous, who was killed in the blast on July 11, 2011.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fotiou said Irakleous noted that Irakleous was much loved and held in high regard. He referred to an incident in 2006 when under adverse weather conditions, with “courage and selflessness” he rushed along with a colleague to rescue a seriously ill sailor and transfer him to safety at Limassol port.
The UDU’s headquarters is named in memory of Irakleous, said Fotiou.
Thirteen firemen and sailors were killed in the Mari naval base blast two years ago trying to put out a fire started at the site where 98 munitions-filled containers were stored for a lengthy period under the blistering sun. The Syria-bound Iranian munitions were intercepted by US forces and later confiscated by the Cypriot authorities.