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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsRescue Efforts Continue for 12 Missing in Greece Ferry Fire

Rescue Efforts Continue for 12 Missing in Greece Ferry Fire

Greece ferry ship fire
Firefighters aboard the ferry try to put out the fire. Credit: AMNA

Rescue efforts continue in Greece on Saturday for 12 people missing – among them 3 Greek nationals -from the fire that engulfed a ferry in the early hours of Friday off the island of Corfu.

Late on Friday rescuers descended from a helicopter onto the “Euroferry Olympia” through thick clouds of smoke to free two people who had been stranded inside the vessel for more than 15 hours, but hope was fading for 12 others reported missing.

The rescued men were an Afghan national, who was not registered on the passenger list, and a Bulgarian driver.

According to an AMNA report, both appeared to have respiratory problems from smoke inhalation. The men had found a safe corner at an underwater deck, where they escaped the fire. Rescuers struggled for hours to free them.

278 passengers and crew of the ferry were evacuated

The fire broke out on one of the third car decks around midnight as it was sailing off Erikoussa, near Corfu, on the route from Igoumenitsa to the port of Brindisi in Italy. When the fire started, the ship’s captain ordered that the ship be immediately evacuated.

A total of 278 passengers and crew have been evacuated. The passengers and crew were transported with safety to the port of Corfu by Greek and Italian coast guard vessels in the area. Ten were transported to the island’s hospital, most with respiratory problems from smoke inhalation.

Dousing the fire were three tugboats with firefighting equipment, and an open-type ferry transporting two firetrucks. In addition, a submarine operations unit of the Port Authority-Coast Guard was also heading to the site of the burning ship.

Greece orders investigation into the cause of the fire

Owner and shipping firm Grimaldi Group said the ship was also carrying 153 trucks and 32 passenger vehicles. It added that no fuel leak has been detected in the sea surrounding the ferry while its stability has not been affected.

Shipping & Island Policy Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis said that he has ordered an investigation into the causes of the fire, and has spoken with the owner company to ensure that every precaution is taken to prevent marine pollution in the area.

The Italian Coast Guard announced on Friday it is dispatching the ship ‘Diciotti’ from Catagna, on Sicily’s east coast, to assist with firefighting efforts at the Italian-flagged ‘Euroferry Olympia’ near Corfu.

The Italian authorities also said they would contribute ships to help with any potential fuel leaks in the Ionian Sea. Additionally, owners Grimaldi Group said they were contributing ships to help put the fire out.

In 2019 more than 500 passengers were evacuated when a fire broke out on an Igoumenitsa to Venice ferry.

In 2014, 10 people were killed when the car ferry Norman Atlantic carrying 466 passengers and crew caught fire while sailing from Greece to Italy.

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