Fire damaged Euroferry Olympia to be towed to safe port of Astakos in western Greece

Ionian Sea

Greek efforts to locate 10 people missing for five days after an Italy-bound ferry caught fire at sea were suspended Tuesday while the burnt-out hulk was towed to a mainland port, Greek authorities said.

The Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia was carrying at least 292 passengers and crew when it caught fire Friday three hours after it left the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa for Brindisi in Italy. A total of 278 people were safely evacuated at sea.

Based on the Shipping Ministry, the position of the ferry – to the north of the Ionian island of Corfu – is preventing the fire service from fully extinguishing the blaze that has already claimed one life.

The goal now is to tow the ferry to the port of Platygialos in Astakos on Greece’s western mainland coast. Relatives of the missing passengers who are waiting for news of their loved ones will also be provided with accommodation as the operation continues, the ministry said.

The fire on the Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia broke out on February 18 as it was sailing to the Italian port of Brindisi. 

Nearly 280 passengers and crew were rescued from the ship, including a truck driver who was found on Sunday, the same day that one of his colleagues was found dead in the cab of his vehicle.

According to the fire service, the search for the other 10 missing passengers cannot continue until the blaze is brought more fully under control, which is impossible in its current situation.