Norman Atlantic Ferry Fire near Corfu, Greece – December 28, 2014 – The ANEK Lines’ Norman Atlantic ferry was ablaze December 28, 2014 around 0430 hours local time with an estimated 423 passengers and 55 crew with more than 200 vehicles aboard while the Ro-Ro ferry was 44 nautical miles northwest of the island of Corfu, Greece.
Of the 200 vehicles aboard, several were tanker trucks containing olive oil, which may have contributed to the fast growing fire.
Norman Atlantic was sailing from Patras in western Greece to Ancona, Italy while passengers were asleep in their cabins, when the fire broke out in the Adriatic Sea. Norman Atlantic crew put out a distress signal with over dozens of people said to have boarded a lifeboat.
The Norman Atlantic is shown in the center of our Mediterranean Cruise Ship Tracker. The rescue operation is being delayed by heavy smoke, gale force winds, reported to be 56 mph, and high seas. Rescuers from Italy, Greece and Albania working the rescue scene at this time.
Early reports say the fire broke out in the lower deck garage and lifeboats were ablaze, passengers were unable to board most lifeboats and began looking for life vests and making their way to the top of Norman Atlantic to await rescue.
See the breaking fire news videos on our Cruise Ship Videos fires . By early afternoon only 56 have been confirmed saved. Russian tankers in the area formed a wave block between the sea and the Norman Atlantic to assist the rescue operation.
Ro-Ro ferry Cruise Europa which became the command center for the search and rescue and Ro-Ro ferry Forza assisted with the rescue. Images in our photo viewer shows SAR search and rescue aircraft, searching the area looking for missing passengers. Lifeboats from nearby vessels are being boarded by survivors.
As of December 29, 0900 hours EDT, over 24 hours after the fire began, all passengers had been evacuated with the death toll ending at ten lives lost Passengers adrift on the stricken ferry in high seas braved rain, hail, freezing temperatures , heavy smoke inhalation and burning shoes from the hot decks while awaiting a very slow, painful rescue. Four injured passengers included three children and a pregnant woman who were being treated for hypothermia.
Government officials indicate 427 survivors included ten French, eighteen Germans, 256 Greeks and forty-four people on board were Italian. Also aboard were Albanias, Russians, Hungarians, Turkish, Belgians,Syrians and Egyptians.