Rescue teams are still searching for ten missing passengers from the Euroferry Olympia after the ship went up in flames Friday off the coast of Corfu.
Yesterday the Greek Fire Brigade’s special disaster unit (EMAK) was reinforced with over 40 people, as well as specialists from Smit Salvage, but high temperatures and a fire still breaking out on the ship’s third garage prevented them from finding any passengers.
The ship was on its way from Igoumenitsa, Greece, towards Brindisi, Italy carrying over 290 passengers and crew when it caught fire. 153 trucks and 32 cars were also aboard.
Most of the passengers were evacuated immediately, and one truck driver from Belarus was found alive on Sunday. The body of a 58-year-old Greek truck driver was also recovered on Sunday.
Ten other truck drivers are still missing after they allegedly slept in their vehicles because they didn’t find the ferry’s cabins suitable, according to the Greek Union of Professional Truck Drivers (SEOFAE).
Grimaldi, the owner of the ship, denied these allegations by saying the ship was inspected days prior to the start of the trip, and that the truck drivers were at fault.
“According to international regulations, access to the garage decks by passengers is absolutely forbidden, while the vessel is in navigation. This safety rule is strictly applied by Grimaldi Group vessels. Moreover, in order to make sure that such rule is observed by all passengers onboard, particularly by truck drivers, the cargo area evacuation is checked before departure and designated crew teams regularly patrol the garage decks during navigation,” the company said. “If any truck driver decides fraudulently to hide himself in his truck, this behavior is a flagrant offense against International Regulations and Grimaldi rules which can put at risk his own and the ship’s safety.”
Local media has said that authorities are also concerned that there are multiple passengers who were on the ship illegally after an Afghan passenger who wasn’t registered was rescued.