Rescue efforts continue for 12 missing in Greece ferry fire Capital News


Corfu, Greece, February 19 – Rescuers resumed the search for 12 missing people at dawn on Saturday after an Italian-flagged ferry caught fire on the Ionian Sea the day before.

During the night, patrol vessels combed the area off the island of Corfu in the hope of locating survivors, the Greek coast guard told AFP.

Rescuers have brought 278 passengers to Corfu after the Euroferry Olympia fire broke out en route from Greece to Italy.

Officials said the cause of the fire remains unknown.

According to the Coast Guard, all those still missing are truckers, nine from Bulgaria and three from Greece.

Truckers who were rescued from the ship told Greek public television on Saturday that some drivers preferred to sleep in their vehicles because the ships’ cabins were overcrowded.

Grimaldi Lines, the ship’s owner, said late last night that the fire “is currently under control”, but the Greek coastguard on Saturday morning did not confirm.

According to the company, the ferry was officially carrying 239 passengers and 51 crew, along with 153 trucks and trailers and 32 passenger vehicles.

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But worried about the number of potential unofficial passengers who may still be missing, the coastguard said two of those rescued were not on the manifest.

Both were Afghans, the coast guard told AFP.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said 127 of its nationals were on the passenger list, including 37 truck drivers.

Another 24 were from Turkey, the country’s NTV station said, while broadcaster ERT said there were 21 Greeks on board.

Of those rescued, 10 were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties and minor injuries, ERT said.

More than 270 people have been rescued and taken to the island of Corfu following a fire on the Euroferry Olympia © Eurokinissi/AFP / Stamatis KATAPODIS

A specialized Greek rescue team that boarded the burning vessel ceased efforts on Friday evening due to high heat on the ship, dense smoke and darkness, according to the Athens News Agency. .

The 27-year-old ship’s last security check took place in Igoumenitsa on February 16, the company said.

Maritime traffic is intense between the western Greek ports of Igoumenitsa and Patras and the Italian ports of Brindisi and Ancona.

The last shipboard fire in the Adriatic occurred in December 2014 on the Italian ferry Norman Atlantic. Thirteen people died in this fire.

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