Greece turns to military for fuel

Greece said Friday it will use military trucks, navy vessels and commandeered fuel tankers to restore gasoline supplies cut by a strike that has hurt the country’s industry and vital tourism trade at the height of vacation season.

A protesting truck driver holds a Greek flag as he  protests in front of Riot police outside the Greek parliament in central Athens

A protesting truck driver holds a Greek flag as he protests in front of Riot police outside the Greek parliament in central Athens

ATHENS — Greece said Friday it will use military trucks, navy vessels and commandeered fuel tankers to restore gasoline supplies cut by a strike that has hurt the country’s industry and vital tourism trade at the height of vacation season.

Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis told The Associated Press that the emergency plan would take effect “as quickly as possible” to insure that vital public services were not affected by the protest, which is in its fifth day.

Earlier, striking truckers vowed to continue their protest in defiance on an emergency order to return to work.

Clashes broke out at an oil refinery in northern Greece leaving two people hurt, police said, after strikers clashed with riot police while trying to block a government-seized truck from leaving.

Greece is racing to push through austerity measures needed to secure continued international rescue loans to prop up its debt-strapped economy, with the next loan installment due in mid-September.

Inspectors from the European Union and International Monetary Fund are currently in Athens to review progress of cost-cutting reforms.

“The law will be upheld,” Petalotis said.

“Our information is that most mobilization notices have now been handed out. Those who do not comply are violating the law and can lose their operating license and face the consequences of criminal prosecution.”

The truckers have rejected a compromise offer by the government to offset the financial impact of liberalizing their closed-shop profession.

Sweeping labour reforms targeting previously protected professional groups follow months of strikes and protests over other belt-tightening measures that included sale tax hikes, and cuts in pensions and civil service pay — all in the midst of recession that has seen unemployment spike to around 12 per cent.

The fuel strike has hurt Greek industry and tourism, with shortages likely to affect travel this weekend.

“This is a catastrophe. The decision was taken on the busiest day of the year, at peak season . . . I don’t know what’s worse, what is actually happening today or the bad publicity this is giving us,” George Telonis, head of the Greek Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies, told The Associated Press.

“The season so far has not gone too badly, with about a 3 per cent drop on the year, despite all the strikes and difficulties . . . because we have a very strong product. But I am very worried that damage will be done if this strike continues,” he added.

He said the fuel strike will hammer last-minute bookings and popular holiday excursions to beaches and ancient sites.

Hoteliers at resorts in northern Greece, which are mostly accessed by car, have reported a steeper drop in bookings this year — more than 15 per cent, according to their associations.

“We are helping customers find open gas stations so that they can get home,” said Grigoris Tasios, head of the Halkidiki Hotel Association, of resorts in northern Greece. “About one or two gas stations are currently supplied in a 50-kilometre (30-mile) radius, when normally there would be at least 10.”

George Amvrazis, managing director of the Greek Hotel Federation, said the strikes had already tarnished Greece’s image.

“This has taken a toll on mainland resorts. You won’t set out to a resort if you’re not sure if you can fill up your gas tank,” Amvrazis said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
Most unvaccinated Canadians uncomfortable with AstraZeneca vaccine: survey

Just 41 per cent of Canadians who aren’t vaccinated, but intend to… Continue reading

Advocate file photo
Red Deer County approves winery

Winery proposed for rural property northwest of Innisfail

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that was administered to seniors, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. A second COVID-19 vaccine is being investigated for possible links to blood clots, though the syndrome appears to be extremely rare. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rogelio V. Solis
Canada receives report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

OTTAWA — A Quebec woman is the first in Canada to develop… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney struck back at unruly protesters who chanted ‘lock her up’ in relation to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Monday. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Alberta Premier calls for ‘unhinged conspiracy theorists’ to stop threatening the chief medical officer

Spreading misinformation, making threats is ‘beyond the pale,’ said Kenney

An internal investigation by AHS revealed 3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly by two clerical employees in the diagnostic imaging department at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Employees access 3K patients’ records in privacy breach at Red Deer hospital

3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly

An emergency response worker carries an air monitoring device at the site of a crude oil spill at a Trans Mountain Pipeline pump station in Abbotsford, on Sunday, June 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Failed fitting caused 190,000-litre spill at Trans Mountain site in B.C.: TSB

VANCOUVER — A Transportation Safety Board report says the failure of a… Continue reading

Indigenous leaders, experts urge Ottawa to quickly pass UNDRIP bill before election

OTTAWA — Indigenous leaders and legal experts are pushing federal lawmakers to… Continue reading

Visitors to a roadside memorial pay their respects in Portapique, N.S., on Friday, April 24, 2020. The Canadian Red Cross confirmed today it has collected $6.2 million in donations to help the families in rural Nova Scotia affected by the mass shooting last spring that claimed 22 lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Red Cross collects $6.2 million for families affected by Nova Scotia mass shooting

HALIFAX — Canadians and people from around the world donated $6.2 million… Continue reading

Hindu devotees wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus stand in a queue to offer prayers inside a temple dedicated to goddess Kali in Jammu, India, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. New infections have surged in the past month and India has now reported over 13.6 million cases — pushing its toll past Brazil, and making it second only to the United States. In the past 24 hours, over 160,000 new infections have been detected and experts fear that the worst is yet to come. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Johnson & Johnson delays shot rollout in Europe

BERLIN — Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of… Continue reading

Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery workers wait in line to sign up for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine site, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the Sunset Park neighborhood of New York. The mobile vaccination effort includes two buses equipped with four to six vaccinators each, delivering the COVID-19 vaccine directly to communities most in need. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose… Continue reading

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Canadian actor/producer/director Jay Baruchel is photographed at the 5 Drive-In Theatre in Oakville, Ont., ahead of the premier of Baruchel’s movie Random Acts of Violence, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Jay Baruchel to host Amazon Prime Video’s ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Canada’

Final comedian left standing wins a grand prize for a charity of their choice

Most Read