Cyprus Mail

Memorials held for 8th anniversary of naval-base deaths

Photo: Christos Theodorides

Memorials services were being held on Sunday in the main districts to mark eight years since the explosion at the Mari naval base in which killed 13 people 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.

Speaking at a service in Kiti in the Larnaca district, Defence Minister Savvas Angelides apologised again on behalf of the state, which at the time had not done all it ought to have done to prevent the victims being exposed to such a deadly risk in the line of duty.

“Unfortunately”, he said, the state could not bring back those who died “but it can promise with wisdom, determination and respect, never to repeat the mistakes of the past”.

“This is our promise to the families of the heroes,” he said.

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