Christodoulides regrets “tragic mistakes” on Mari’s anniversary

President Nikos Christodoulides regretted the “tragic mistakes” made by the state on the 13th anniversary of the Mari explosionin which 13 people died on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a memorial service at the Evangelos Florakis naval base, where the blast occurred, he offered his condolences to the families of the bereaved.

“I am here, first and foremost, on behalf of the State as President of the Republic of Cyprus to apologize for the tragic mistakes made by the State, for all the things that should have been done and were not done and which led to this tragedy,” he said.

“At least, Their sacrifice should serve as a reminder to all of us in positions of responsibility. “so that we will never again be led into human tragedies like this.”

He later gave a speech at the memorial service, telling mourners he was there “to look them in the eye and express the state’s sincere apologies for the mistakes that led to this tragedy.”

“This tragedy occurred due to a sequence of errors that all have something in common, and we must be completely honest, a lack of concern and care, which should have been demonstrated by many of those at the highest level of the administrative, military and political hierarchy,” he said.

“As a result of this, the State was irreparably exposed in the eyes of its citizens, in the eyes of all of you.

“Establishing correct procedures, training and ongoing controls is the only way you can minimize the chances of accidents and injuries occurring.” ensure the safety of human life to the greatest extent possible and the state’s vital infrastructure,” he said.

The Mari explosion occurred on June 11, 2011 and was caused by ammunition that had been stored haphazardly in 98 containers at the naval base for more than two years. It also severely damaged the nearby Vasiliko power station, leading to sporadic power outages.

The munitions had been seized in 2009 from a Cyprus-flagged ship bound for Syria and then stacked in an open space at the base and left exposed to the elements for two years until the explosion occurred, despite repeated warnings about the risks.

Following the disaster, the then cabinet, under the late President Demetris Chrisfotias, declared the deceased as heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Meanwhile, lawyer Polys Polyviou was appointed, as a one-man committee, to conduct an investigation into the circumstances leading to the explosion and to establish who was politically responsible.

Polyviou held Christofias primarily responsible, while the then foreign and defence ministers, Marcos Kyprianou and the late Costas Papacostas, were also held responsible.

However, Christofias rejected the findings and accused Polyviou of overstepping his mandate..

A three-judge panel ruled that then-Defense Minister Costas Papacostas had been responsible for safeguarding the containers and was aware of the danger posed by the way they were stored, but took no action.

Papacostas was sentenced to five years In prison for murder in 2013The Larnaca court said he had “closed his eyes to the danger”. He died in hospital in 2015.