"The 11th of July, 2011, is a tragic reminder of the responsibilities of the state, but also of its obligations towards society," President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades said Monday at the memorial service for the 13 victims of the massive explosion at the naval base “Evangelos Florakis”, in Mari, on the southern coast of Cyprus.
He praised the courage and self-sacrifice of the 13 heroes and conveyed to their relatives the sincere apologies of the state, assuring them that the state will continue to support them.
today "is a tragic day that reminds us of the state's duty towards its citizens, the Security Forces, the National Guard". -Anastasiades
He recalled that since the tragic events there have been radical changes and upgrades in order to preserve the operational readiness, but also improve the conditions for those carrying out the mission to defend the integrity of the country and its internal security.
Meanwhile, later on, in statements to the press, President Anastasiades said that today "is a tragic day that reminds us of the state's duty towards its citizens, the Security Forces, the National Guard".
It reminds us, he added, of the general duty of the state to ensure that all security measures are taken, so that those entrusted with the sacred duty of defending the homeland or internal public order, act under the correct rules and conditions.
The huge blast occurred on 11 July 2011 when a number of containers full of munitions exploded. Cyprus had confiscated them from "Monchegorsk", a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009. As a result of the explosion and the shock wave that followed, the nearby Vassiliko power station suffered extensive damage that led to power cuts for some time after the blast.
More than 60 people were injured during the explosion.
Military officers Andreas Ioannides, Lambros Lambrou, Kleanthis Kleanthous, Michalis Heracleous, Miltiades Christophorou, Christakis Christophorou and Andreas Chralambous were killed by the blast as well as firefighters Andreas Papadopoulos, Vasilis Krokos, Spyros Tantis, Panayiotis Theophilou, Giorgos Yiakoumi and Adamos Adamou.