State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis will chair a meeting of ministers at Maximos Mansion on Monday to try and resolve the issue of transportation at the island of Samothrace that left hundreds of tourists unable to reach Alexandroupoli on the mainland for over a week, government sources said on Friday.
The issue of the "Saos" and "Saonissos" ferries, both out for repairs indefinitely, has been resolved temporarily but is a long-standing one, having occurred again earlier in the year. Right now the two ferries running between the island and the mainland, the high-speed "Andros Jet" and the "Anax", are filling in temporarily, the former throughout this weekend and the latter to August 25.
Besides the powerful winds that prevented attempts by replacement ships to reach Samothrace during the long weekend of the Dormition, government sources said the basic problem is that the Kamariotissa port has serious safety issues. Accusing the previous government of negligence, the sources said that the seabed at the port is also in immediate need of dredging from the accumulated debris and silting, to prevent ships running aground.
Samothrace businesses, which tried to accomodate stranded visitors, have said that the problem harmed the economy in the short tourism season on the island and has dealt a blow to its image abroad, citing high cancellation rates and travel directives by Balkan countries.
Expected to attend Monday's meeting are the ministers of Shipping & Island Policy Yiannis Plakiotakis; Tourism Charis Theocharis; Infrastructure & Transport Kostas Karamanlis; Interior Takis Theodorikakos; the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and government spokesman Stelios Petsas, and East Macedonia & Thrace Regional Governor Christos Metios.