An Afghan national, who was not registered in ‘Euroferry Olympia”s passenger list, and a Bulgarian driver were both evacuated from the burning ferry on a Super Puma, according to the latest report from the Greek Coast Guard on Friday night.
In an earlier report by the coast guard, it was said that two drivers, both foreign nationals, had alerted authorities they were trapped, but only the Bulgarian driver was located and rescued. A Turkish driver is still missing.
The two foreign nationals, the Afghan and the Bulgarian, were trapped on the burning ferry ‘Euroferry Olympia’ since the fire broke out early on Friday, and were evacuated on a Super Puma to the Corfu hospital.
According to Athens-Macedonian News Agency information, both appeared to have respiratory problems from smoke inhalation. The men appeared to have found a safe corner in the ship at the 5th underwater deck, where they escaped the fire. The fire brigade and its disasters unit struggled for hours to free them.
The fire broke out on one of the third car deck around midnight as it as it was sailing off Erikoussa, near Corfu, while carrying out the journey 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, while another 12 cannot be accounted for – among them 3 Greek nationals. 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.
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.
Italian Coast Guard sending ship to help put out fire on Grimaldi ship
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.