- Operations - Charter guest denies wrongdoing

By SuperyachtNews

Charter guest denies wrongdoing

A businessman who chartered Persefoni I has denied any involvement in an incident that allegedly caused a severe wildfire in Greece…

A Kazakh national who had chartered 54-metre Persefoni I has publicly denied any responsibility for the wildfire that erupted on the Greek island of Hydra. The fire, which ignited on 21 June 2024, was initially thought to have been caused by fireworks launched from the chartered yacht anchored nearby.

Reports have noted that the guests on the yacht were Kazakh nationals who, after denying involvement, were permitted to leave the country without being questioned as witnesses.

However, the Greek crew was apprehended at a marina near Athens and charged with starting the fire. The captain and first officer of Persefoni I are currently in jail pending trial on arson charges, while eleven other crew members were released on bail with restrictions.

According to court documents, witnesses reported seeing smoke and flames after hearing loud noises resembling firework explosions around 22:00 on Friday. One witness claimed to have seen a rubber boat heading toward the yacht as the fire rapidly spread, and also observed a fire extinguisher at the yacht's stern.

However, subsequent investigations indicate that the fire could have begun on the beach, with no involvement from the yacht. Fire department officials discovered traces of firecrackers, indicating that the fire did not originate from flares or fireworks launched from the yacht as initially suspected. 

Daniyar Abulgazin, the Kazakh national who chartered the vessel, denied any wrongdoing in a statement published in Forbes Kazakhstan.

As per his statement, Abulgazin chartered Persefoni I from noon on 15 June to 22 June to cruise around the islands of Greece. Before departing Greece on the originally scheduled date of 22 June, representatives of the Greek authorities spoke with the charterer and guests without making any claims against them in connection with the incident. Consequently, they continued to follow their predetermined travel plans. It should be noted that some guests had already left on the morning of 21 June.

“It came as a complete surprise to us to learn of the allegations that followed in the press upon our return, and I categorically deny any wrongdoing,” continues Abulgazin. “Neither I nor my guests performed any actions that could lead to a fire. We strictly followed the fire safety rules established on the yacht. Neither I nor my guests asked the crew of the yacht or other third parties to take any actions that could lead to a fire.

“We always adhere to all necessary safety measures and strictly follow laws and regulations to avoid such incidents. We will cooperate with the Greek authorities as part of their investigation.”

Abulgazin adds that he will comment on the matter no further in light of the ongoing investigation, as charges for abetting arson have allegedly been laid against eight of the passengers. A prosecutor has also ordered an internal probe into the actions of authorities that allowed the yacht’s guests to travel outside the country before the official investigation was concluded.

MARIOTTI YACHTS 2012 2012 Delivered
53.80m 10.50m 2.95m 928
Luca Dini Design
Mariotti Yachts

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