Police suspect that an internal row at Greece’s Karnessis shipping clan may have triggered a tragic shooting by a former employee who gunned down three executives at family company European Navigation on Monday.

The incident has shocked the Greek shipping community and the wider shipping world as news of the killings spread.

TradeWinds has already reported how the 76-year-old Egyptian man, who died by suicide after the killings, had been in the service of the Karnessis family but had recently lost his job.

According to Greece’s state-run broadcaster ERT and police sources, leads suggest that the gunman was dismissed or denied benefits as part of an internal family squabble pitching Spyros Karnessis against his sisters, Maria and Despina, and that the man probably sought to take revenge on the people he thought responsible for his situation.

Several eyewitness accounts reported in local media relate that the gunman entered the company building seeking out particular people to go after, telling employees he met on the way that he had come “to settle his accounts” or “to go after the bosses”.

In the end, he fatally shot 76-year-old company principal Maria Karnessi and general manager Antonios Vlassakis, Despina’s husband, as well as an employee and former master at the accounts department who had attempted to disarm him.

The Egyptian man, whose identity has not been revealed but who was reportedly a familiar face in the company known as “Aris”, later descended to the basement, where he was found dead with a gunshot to his head.

Police believe he died by suicide.

A police spokeswoman speaking to reporters earlier on Monday confirmed that the man was a family employee rather than an employee of the shipping company.

Greek media have already reported about litigation inside the Karnessis family, whose companies European Navigation and European Product Carriers are listed with a fleet of 10 product tankers.

In a statement issued later on Monday, 84-year-old Spyros Karnessis expressed his family’s collective grief over the “tragic and unexpected incident”.

At the same time, he asked that the killings not be connected to “any other affair”.

Mass shootings being much rarer in Greece than in other Western countries, the killings have caused shockwaves and consternation not just among the shipping community but throughout wider society as well.

Television stations have been airing multiple live broadcasts from company headquarters in the Athens suburb of Glyfada throughout the day.

The ferocity of the event may also spark a review of security measures at Greek shipping companies — particularly the access of non-company and former employees to firms’ premises.

Today’s events will have a significant impact on the close-knit, security-conscious Greek shipping community while also resonating internationally.

Shipping sources contacted TradeWinds in disbelief as early reports of the triple shooting spread, describing the events as tragic, brutal and horrendous.