Emergency services are not yet able to board the plane due to the fire. Various helicopters and ships are combing the area, and a fire extinguisher and several locomotives have been deployed. The Dutch rescue company Boskalis sent twelve experts to Greece to help. Greek media reported that the ship’s captain and two crew members were arrested, but released after questioning. The authorities are conducting an investigation.
The Italian coast guard said the ship may also have leaked fuel. Italy’s environment ministry said the ferry was believed to be carrying an estimated 800 cubic meters of fuel and another 23 tonnes of “corrosive dangerous goods”.
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The 183-meter-long ship caught fire while en route from Greece to Italy. Officially on board were 239 passengers and 51 crew members. Several ships have been deployed to carry Euroferry Olympia passengers to safety.
According to the Coast Guard, all the missing are truck drivers. Seven of them are from Bulgaria, three are from Greece and the rest are from Turkey and Lithuania. Several truck drivers who were rescued told local media that some drivers preferred to sleep in their trucks because the sleeping areas on board were overcrowded.
The cause of the fire is not yet known. Supposedly it started in the hull of the ferry. Owner Grimaldi Lines reports that the crew tried to put out the fire to no avail. According to one of the rescued passengers, it took four hours before they were rescued.
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According to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, a Greek trade union warned the Ministry of the Navy in 2017 of poor conditions on the ferry. For example, the air conditioner in the sleeping quarters wouldn’t work and there were very few sleeping places. According to the union, the ventilation in Olympia’s garage was also out of order.
Grimaldi Lines said the 27-year-old’s last safety check was on February 16. The Truckers’ Union also complained about the condition of another company ferry, the Ignazia.
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