The PNO announced it will extend the strike by 48 hours on Tuesday evening. The strike is set to end on Friday at 6 pm.
The impact of the strike in conjunction with the refugee crisis, which peaked in October with 210,000 arrivals on the Greek islands during that month alone, is highly visible on the East Aegean Greek island of Lesvos. Three passenger ships which were scheduled to transport migrants and refugees from Lesvos to the port of Piraeus are docked at the island’s port of Mytilene and will likely remain there until the strike ends.
Spyros Galinos, the mayor of Lesvos, criticized the PNO for their decision to hold a strike under these extreme circumstances.
“We are essentially hostages to serve the PNO worker’s interest,” Galinos told protothema.gr. “It is impossible that in a region which has been facing such a big problem and is dealing with it, a worker’s strike comes along and undermines the battle and the effort we have given and are giving. If they themselves do not take the decision they must take they will have to be requisitioned. These things cannot happen, they cannot hold an island hostage. If they cannot show responsibility, others should show it to them.”
The mayor further noted that there are 7,000 migrants and refugees at the island’s port of Mytilene, waiting to be transported, in the cold, as they are not even allowing them to stay inside while the boat is docked. Galinos also opined that the seafarer’s have benefited from the refugee crisis as many of them would have lost their jobs if not for the necessity of these routes.
Greek Shipping Minister Thodoris Dristas met with the PNO’s leadership on Wednesday morning in an effort to persuade the organization to service the emergency routes from Mytilene to the port of Piraeus. The PNO did not compromise and thus these refugees will have to wait at least until Friday morning.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Parliament President Martin Schulz will visit Lesvos on Thursday.