The fate of 29 Greeks and several other passengers who are thought to have been on board the Norman Atlantic ferry was still not known on Tuesday night as authorities in Greece and Italy attempted to clear up discrepancies regarding the ship’s manifest and the people who had been rescued from the vessel.
Officially, 437 people who were on board have been accounted for. This is 38 short of a revised total of passengers and crew released by the ship’s operator ANEK Lines. A total of 236 of those rescued are from Greece but this is 29 short of the 265 Greeks (232 passengers and 33 crew members) who were listed as being on board the ship.
A rescue vessel carrying at least 130 Greeks docked at the port of Brindisi. This was 35 Greeks more than the Merchant Marine Ministry was initially led to believe, highlighting the difficulty in obtaining precise information about the fate of all those aboard the ferry. Ministry sources told Kathimerini that Greek embassy officials were at Brindisi in order to collect the details of those who had been rescued.
The death toll from the ferry disaster rose to 11 on Tuesday. It was confirmed that a second Greek, 57-year-old Constantinos Koufopoulos, was among the victims. It also emerged that two Albanian sailors had died in the rescue attempt when a tow line from their tugboat snapped. Three of the victims were Italian truck drivers.
Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe ordered the Italian-flagged ferry back to the port of Brindisi. Volpe said it was likely that other bodies will be found in the cargo areas of the ferry once searched, given that there was “incontrovertible” evidence that migrants were stowed away on board.
“Our fear is that, unfortunately, once the wreck is recovered, we’ll find other dead people on board,” he said.
The head of the Piraeus prosecutor’s office, Eirini Tziva, also launched a probe into the ferry disaster. She will be investigating whether anyone should face felony charges for disruption of marine transport and arson.
Tziva has asked prosecutors in Patra, from where the ship chartered by ANEK set sail, and Igoumenitsa, where it docked shortly before the fire broke out on its vehicle deck, for information relating to safety checks on the vessel and the number of passengers and vehicles that embarked.