After Deadly Accidents, Greece Up Checks on Leisure Boats

(EUROKINISSI/Vassilis Papadopoulos)

Drivers of speedboats, inflatable boats and other leisure craft in Greece are facing intensified checks in the wake of a number of accidents, including one that left two people dead and another seriously injured.

Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis said that although checks take place throughout the year, they have picked up this year because of an increase of traffic on the water with the country’s seas especially popular with tourists.

He said that at least 10,696 checks took place within a two-month period this summer and that 836 violations recorded, said Kathimerini.

Greek officials said the 44-year-old French skipper of an inflatable boat that slammed into a fishing boat in the deadly accident would face an examining magistrate in the southern city of Napflio to be questioned. He was apprehended after first having fled the scene of the accident.

The accident occurred Aug. 9 near the resort of Porto Heli, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the capital, Athens when the 10-meter (30-foot) inflatable speedboat carrying at least eight foreign nationals hit a five-meter (15-foot) wooden fishing boat with three Greeks aboard.

The smaller boat sank and the two men who were on it were recovered dead. A woman who was on the smaller craft was severely injured. A preliminary Coast Guard report said the fishing boat had lights on and the inflatable vessel accelerated before the collision.