Cyprus Mail

Memorials for Mari blast victims

File photo: A relative places flowers at the memorial of one of the 13 men killed in the Mari explosion (Christos Theodorides)

State officials and representatives of political parties attended on Sunday memorials of the men who lost their lives during the blast at Mari naval base on July 11, 2011.

In total 13 men, seven sailors and six firemen died in a blast caused by munitions haphazardly stored at the Evangelos Florakis naval base. The munitions, stored in 98 containers, had been confiscated in 2009 from a Cyprus-flagged ship en route to Syria. They were then stacked in an open space at the base and left exposed to the elements until the day of the explosion, despite repeated warnings about the risks.

Presidential Commissioner, Photis Photiou, who attended the memorial of the naval base commander, Lambros Lambrou, in Kiti, Larnaca, said that the “tragic explosion will always haunt political insensibility, irresponsibility and hypocrisy, state failure and criminal negligence.”

“We must not allow ever again, for our country to experience similar tragedies,” Photiou said.

The 13 men who lost their lives at the blast, he said, have become shining examples of selflessness, bravery and dedication to one’s duty.

President Nicos Anastasiades will attend a memorial service on Wednesday morning at the chapel erected at the naval base.

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