Greece-Italy ferry fire, one of the 12 missing passengers found alive: he was aft. Alert for the risks of an environmental disaster

We continue to operate in the open sea around the wreck of the Euroferry Olympia to look for survivors, to avert the risk of pollution and to extinguish the last outbreaks on the ferry that burned down Friday night between Greece and Italy, a few miles north of the island of Corfu. This morning the news of the rescue of one of the 12 missing passengers: rescuers found him alive at the stern and managed to get him off the ship’s ladders. It comes in a Lithuanian and the operation was confirmed by the Greek Minister of Navigation, Yiannis Plakiotakis. “Luckily I’m alive “, were the first words man spoke to the rescuers. Not only that, the Greek media reports that he also explained that he had heard other rumors about the ferry. He would be in good health and was taken to the hospital for checkups. The Greek coast guard has expressed cautious optimism on the possibility of saving other people: again three Greek citizens, seven Bulgarians and one Turk are missing. The belly of the ship, however, is still glowing, temperatures reached 600 degrees, which, in addition to complicating the extinguishing operations, feeds the anguish. It cannot be ruled out that someone is trapped inside, but it is still impossible to enter the holds for checks, technical checks and damage counting.

“Every time there was a people in the ship’s garages who stayed to sleep in their cars, in recent years I have seen foreigners – I think they were Bulgarians or Romanians – who they lit fires down in the garages, threw parties with the radio of the vans, got drunk“Massimo, an Italian who lives on the Greek island of Othoni not far from the site of the shipwreck, told the Rai radio newspaper, and has traveled hundreds of times on board the Euroferry Olimpia ferry, eight in the last month alone. Fortunately, he was not on board when there was the fire on February 18: “But I was not surprised – he comments bitterly – obviously I don’t know what the causes of this fire were, but I can say that I spent many nights locked in the car in the garages of this ship, precisely because it is dilapidated and full of people camping out “. “The practice of staying in garages is absolutely not lawful, on the basis of international legislation – replied to the Radio Newspaper Paul Kyprianou of external relations of Grimaldi Lines – we abide by the law and we have special patrols: crew members who control. There may be some truck drivers who do not follow the directions. I find it serious that a fire has been lit on board, we are the only company on this route that has banned camping on board because we know it could cause accidents “.

The survivors, including Italians (43 of the crew and 21 passengers), they are all still in Corfu where they were brought by rescuers. The alert in the area of ​​the accident remains high: the Grimaldi Lines ferry that left Igoumenitsa on Thursday evening for Brindisi is surrounded by tugs but remains adrift and it is feared that it could sink. In Olympia’s tanks there are at least 800 cubic meters of fuel and 23 tons of dangerous goods. The alarm on the risk of pollution came Saturday from the Italian coast guard who, flying over the area of ​​the shipwreck with an ATR aircraft, noticed a spill into the sea. The Ministry of Ecological Transition has therefore made available to the Greek authorities a vehicle of the National Anti-Pollution Service Society, the ‘Ievoli white’, which is currently in Bari and which is ready to be used if the need arises. The ship has already arrived in the area of ​​the accident Eighteen of the Coast Guard, equipped with anti-pollution devices, which has on board a team of experts composed of an Ispra technician and two officers from the marine environmental department.

Those who coordinated the rescue in Greece explained that immediately, already yesterday morning, the sea mirror around the ship had been searched to exclude that anyone could have fallen into the icy, but fortunately calm, waters. On the mainland, on the Greek island of Corfu where 279 shipwrecked people (two of whom were not included in the passenger lists) were conducted by the Italian finance police and the Greek authorities, the day following the disaster was dedicated to investigations into the causes and possible responsibilities of the stake. The hypothesis, in fact, is that the flames started from the hold, in garage 3, perhaps from a parked vehicle. The Hellenic judiciary is dealing with this, which currently hypothesizes the crimes of shipwreck and an attack on transport safety and which has delegated investigations to the Central Port Authority which has asked to identify the triggering of the flames, as soon as possible. Survivors and witnesses will be heard, some fishermen who were nearby and who may have seen something relevant. The commander and two crew members were also heard for a long time by the judicial authorities. Regarding the return to Italy of the castaways, the Florencia ferry, which according to the indications of the Grimaldi Lines company, also owner of the Olympia, should have brought about sixty to Brindisi, arrived this morning at the Costa Morena dock but none of them landed.

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