RESCUE operation launched today to save almost 500 people onboard a ferry that caught on fire midway

December 28, 2014 3:22 pm
A RESCUE operation has
been launched today to save almost 500 people onboard a ferry that
caught on fire midway through its journey.
The blaze broke out this
morning onboard the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic which was
travelling from Greece’s Patras port to Ancona in Italy.
Some 478 passengers
along with crew members are onboard the ferry which caught fire in
gale-force winds near the Greek island of Corfu.  

An evacuation of the
boat is currently underway and as many as 130 people had reportedly been
rescued but that was no confirmed by Greek officials. 
Authorities added that no passengers were reported injured and the ship is not in immediate danger of sinking.
The fire began in the
lower deck of the ferry and passengers who waiting on the upper level to
be rescued told Greek media they were “trapped” on the ship.
Speaking to The Daily,
one person onboard the ferry said: “We urgently need help. We cannot
leave the ship. There are boats but we are trapped.”
Another told Greek TV: “They tried to lower some boats, but not all of us could get in.
“There is no coordination. It’s dark, the bottom of the vessel is on fire.”
While one passenger told the MEGA TV channel: “We could see fire everywhere. The flames were coming from the garage, cabins…”
A life boat carrying
around 150 passengers was lowered into the waters but authorities said
only 35 were moved to a nearby ferry.

Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotisonly said high winds of up to
55mph and the fire has made the rescue operation extremely complex.

Mr Varvitsiotisonly added: “This is a very difficult, a very complex rescue operation.

“The visibility is poor and the weather conditions are difficult.”

“We are in constant contact with Italian authorities and the Greek armed forces.

“We are committed to rescuing everyone on the ship, and are trying to ensure that nobody will be left unaided.”

Five helicopters and a military transport plane were sent by Greek authorities to help with the rescue operation.

Their Italian counterparts are also involved.

The ship is believed to be 42 nautical miles away from Corfu and at
least seven merchant ships are being used to form a barrier against high
winds in the area.

culled
 Two seamen died and four more were missing, feared drowned, after a Turkish-registered merchant ship sank off Italy Sunday following a collision with another vessel in rough seas, coastguards said.

The two victims were part of a crew of 11 Turkish nationals aboard the ship when it collided with another, Belize-registered, vessel in storm conditions about a mile and a half (two kilometres) off the port of Ravenna on Italy’s Adriatic coast.

The accident occurred as Italy was attempting to coordinate the evacuation of hundreds of passengers and crew from a stricken ferry off the Greek island of Corfu, in the south of the Adriatic.

The ferry had been destined for the Italian port of Ancona when a fire broke out on board.

Two
seamen died and four more were missing, feared drowned, after a
Turkish-registered merchant ship sank off Italy Sunday following a
collision with another vessel in rough seas, coastguards said.
The
two victims were part of a crew of 11 Turkish nationals aboard the ship
when it collided with another, Belize-registered, vessel in storm
conditions about a mile and a half (two kilometres) off the port of
Ravenna on Italy’s Adriatic coast.
The accident occurred as Italy
was attempting to coordinate the evacuation of hundreds of passengers
and crew from a stricken ferry off the Greek island of Corfu, in the
south of the Adriatic.
The ferry had been destined for the Italian port of Ancona when a fire broke out on board.
– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/12/two-dead-four-missing-ship-sinks/#sthash.QpAWjeQf.dpuf
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