Greek Ferry disaster: “And the sharks ate the passengers . Nine or two hundred, we don’t know…”.

The relatives of the lost up to now passengers of Norman Atlantic are day by day crying in agony, two weeks+, now,  after the disaster, without having from the authorities a word .Talking on the Greek media, and -trying still to keep their hope alive-, they describe how each family of them , tryied to follow up the movements of their beloved ones,  and how unexplainably, their relative’s traces were lost. Some families believe their relative might be in a hospital in Italy, and nobodyof them can accept that uncountable numbers of bodies are not found .

Greece today announced that the missing people are only nine( !) while ,the last week this number was 19. No explanations are given. Meanwhile, the Greek media reproduce the recent Italian authorities’ quote, that missing passengers might have disappeared because they might have been eaten by the sharks …

Autopsies will be carried out in the presence of a marine biologist after investigators said at least one of the nine bodies recovered from the sea presented with wounds resembling shark bites, the reports said.

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Day to day, filled up with pain and horror for the unthinkable accident, relatives almost re-experience the horrible hours on that ferry, where help was not there, alarms had not been ringing, and lots, and lots of people were mysteriously lost.

About 43 passengers from the Norman Atlantic who arrived in the Greek capital as survivors, described fighting in dispair to escape form the live hell :caught among flames, pelting rain and passengers who fought others to be rescued”, wrote the The Associated Press

The death toll from the ferry fire remains officially still ,11 persons that are announced.

Since the first moments of the Rescue Operation, the unaccounted lives- bodies- persons- and- souls, vary from 9 , that the Greek authorities announced today, January 13, to 98 that the Italian prosecutor had in Italy announced on December 29, and also to the nr. of 179, as also Italian Prosecutor Volpe appears by the Italian media have said at the first hours of the disaster.

It is still not clear whether the people missing had drowned, or whether they had failed to board the ferry, or burned in the ship helpless.

  •  The official statements by Greece

In Greece, the story about the floating flaming ditch is presented officially by the Ministers of Maritime and of Defense, since the early first day, by these points;

eleven deaths-ninteen/nine  missing-
very bad communication with Italy,
very bad weather to look for answers,
and,,, also, a confessed by Greek and Italian authorities possibility of these “unidentified” persons on the lists to be “just immigrants” that boarded simply illegally…..”

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  • the immigrants

It is still unclear how many people, including illegal immigrants, had boarded without being recorded.
The Italian prosecutor investigating the case, said Afghan stowaways were among the survivors who were rescued.

“Given that the ship was indisputably carrying illegal migrants who were probably hidden in the hold, we fear that we’ll find more dead people once we recover the wreck,” prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe said.

A Greek survivor who talked on Italian and Greek TV, said he had been in the garage area, where the immigrants were quite a lot .At least 5, he said, was the number he had seen , “moving like shadows” . But he also stated, the immigrants were lighting fire in the garage to warm up, since the temperature in there was very low .

  • Fire in the garage, say the survivors

It seems possible that the fire could have start in the garage, if the survivors’ testimony come true, since there were trucks carrying oil on board, as some of the passengers have said. But no definite statement or discussion is further made on that, also, by the authorities in Greece so far. Fears are, no news are going to be heard as the national elections ( Jan.25), come close.

Reports from the authorities on Patras port say the Safety Control that took place 9 days before the fatal trip, had been alarming for the fire doors that were not working properly, and this, according to marine engineers, is considered the most serious factor that le the fire to spread to the entire ship .

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  •  Rescue operation in question

The rescue operation was also conducted amid considerable danger and panic. Rescued passengers said the crew on board was unable to cope.

Captain Giacomazzi appeared on his testimony to insist that “all safety procedures were respected” –which sharply diverges from the testimony of survivors, who said that passengers fought to be rescued and that the crew were nowhere to be seen as the blaze spread out of control.

They said they received no instructions from crew members, that no alarm was given and that the deck of the ship became so hot that their shoes started melting.

Ute Kilger, a passenger from Munich, described how she saw a middle-aged man shove past women, children and the elderly to ensure he was winched to safety by a helicopter before them.
“He just went and sat in the basket, which was clearly designed for children. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” the 45-year-old lawyer told Italian media “I was finally finally lucky, I was saved after nearly 24 hours. This is a long time to fill with hope and with fear that you will die.”

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  • At the end of the Day , is it safe to carry unknown number of unknown immigrants on an international passengers’ ferry line, in the womb of Europe ?

It would be ideal for any of the authorities ,in charge in Greece today for the immigration and trafficking through the country, (let’s say for the Ministries of Internal Affairs, of Maritime , and of Health, and for all the Departments and organizations of the Greek state for Safety), to be in the position to say that all immigrants in the country are checked at the entrance points and medically screened .

At least, this is what reports from the islands say, and what the Urgent Circulates that where sent to all ports of the country, and to all the immigrants’ entry points, by the Greek Center of Disease Control ( HCDCP) in Octob.2014, show . By the circulates which emphasize on the Guidelines for the shield of the country for communicative diseases and especially Ebola,

Maritime Companies should be aware and vigilant on protecting the health of the passengers, and should be on the alert for any possible symptoms associated with Ebola infection, especially in cases of passengers that might have visited Ebola affected areas

the Coast Guard, the Greek Police, border guards and all the personnel involved in the procedures of the management of the illegal immigrants newcomers are informed for all  the preventive measures that are required, by clear and simple instructions,, primarily for the direct identification of the origin country of the incoming immigrants, and also for the necessity of making obligatory the immediate medical evaluation.….

As Greek to me first exclusively has revealed, since early summer 2014, it has been a common practice for over seven months now, to let immigrants from the Aegean islands travel on commercial lines by the ferries to Athens, where they are allowed to stay for one month.

As anyone can easily guess , the trip from Patras to Italy by the ferry , is just the next piece of the trafficking road to the rest of Europe.
By the Norman Atlantic disaster, one of the tragic elements of the story that came to light is for sure.

Immigrants frequently travel that way and usualy are  unidentified and unknown. In numbers, place of origin and, of course, names.

Is that proper, in the womb of Europe ?

Norman Atlantic tragedy: Unknown still the unaccounted. Do we know how many are missing?

ANEK FERRYSURVIVER

Who was Who on that Ferry? Who are those still missing from each country? Whose “flesh” is still burning on that floating hell after almost two weeks, and who is going to honestly inform the public for the macabre marine casualty?

Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe, who is in Italy investigating the tragedy, said 98 people were unaccounted for after the disaster.
He said: “There are 98 people of whom there is still no news.”

Who are those people? Why nobody is talking for them?

In Greece , the story is by the media systematically played down, as the press is being intensively absorbed by the pre-election polarity .The stories of the survivors as they came alive from the elusive tragedy are being played down, and the latest days, the ferry story may not even appar on the news, fading out in the Greek public opinion .

But we are talking of an uncountable number of  human bodies, potentially still flamming in that ship, next to us :  Greeks, international travelers, and may be immigrants. Both Greek and Italian authorities expressed their “fear” that there might be numbers of immigrants that might be found which have illegaly boarded on the ship.  It is a routine situation on the Aegean , -and now as is broadly revealed,  and the Ionian ferries-, to have illicit immigrants on board.

On Saturday Jan. 4rth,  one week after the disaster, Brindisi Port Capt. Mario Valente said that temperatures were “very high” inside the deck. Smoke still poured from the wreck. There was no estimate of when the search might begin.

It remains unknown When we could know anything more precise, for the world, the families of the unknown number of unaccounted passengers, for the international travel, for Greece, Italy,and the Mediterranean. This is the update of the facts revealed and officialy announced after the disaster.

Tragedy Topic nr.1, the victims:Who was who, and how many?

Greece and Italy have issued widely different figures for how many people are still not accounted for in the ferry fire that killed at least 11 people in the Adriatic Sea.

  • The numbers ranged from as many as 98, according to Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe,
  • to 18, according to the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry.

Concerning the marine typical obligation ,“It is up to the departure port to match up their list and the people (rescued).  “That is why we are continuing our (search) effort: we cannot know what the exact number was, Maurizio Lupi told to the media.

  • Greece says Italy’s list is full of duplications and misspellings but the discrepancy could not be immediately explained since the prosecutor’s office was closed for the New Year holiday. But after the New Year holiday , the question is miraculously forgotten .
  • Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi said it was unclear whether the passenger list released by the Greek authorities was an accurate reflection of who was on board. He said the ferry had made a stopover on a Greek island before it ran into trouble on Sunday morning. “There is an embarkation list on which the names of the 427 passengers and 56 crew appear,” Mr Lupi said.
  •  The Italian prosecutor stated that the official number of missing persons could be disclosed when Greece decides to give us a reliable passenger list because’ Greece on these procedures has been particularly slow,” he added.

According to the Greek Coast Guard, there is no information for 19 people so far since the early days of the disaster, of whom 10 are Greeks, a number that is announced and diffused to the Greek press , but is 19 people and no (98!) ,five times minor than the 98 people which the Italian authorities announced.

Dozens of survivors are not included in the list of passengers. The official announcement of the Greek authorities stated that “there are reservations about the exact number of survivors we can notice. A reason which may contribute to the overall confusion, is the possibility that some tickets might have been given just by manuscripts after the ship departed, by the account department on board…. “

Tragedy Topic Nr. 2, Safety : Safety Control had reported Fire errors and Emergency Rescue Response Plan absence.

Apart from leaks and doupts for the Safety qualifications of this trip before it started, which appear, after the fatality, to be scaring scandalous also, the first moments of boarding on that ship -before departure -were not showing any signs of maritime Safety control, as was easily by the passengers noticed .

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The absence of an endorsed plan for the Cooperation of the ferry with the Greek Coastguard in case of accident, had been reported and notified to all the Greek Authorities in charge: the Ministry of Marine, the Headquarters of the Coast Guard and the Greek Coast Guard, and to the the Coast Operation Center. The paper of formal notification had been sent eight days before the ship was caught in flames on that fatal journey. The Central Patras Port Authority after concluding for the Safety Control Report, had set a deadline of 15 days to the Captain of the ship as it is now said , to fix the deficiencies .

The deadline expired on Friday, January 2, five full days after the naval tragedy. The existence of the document was revealed on the first day of the accident on Real Radio, and was also presented by Realnews newspaper on Sunday Jan.10.

“Following an inspection E / C / B Norman Atlantic, flag Italy, it has been found that the ship holds no Cooperation plan for Search and Rescue situations (SAR Co-operation Plan) endorsed by your service” .
The cooperation plan for emergency cases is considered essential for Emergency cases when the ship has to cooperate with the Greek Unified Coordination Centre for Search and Rescue. In the case of Norman Atlantic, it was the ultimate lfataliy factor .

On a press conference given by Greek Authorities, the absence of the endorsed cooperation project was reported by the leadership of the Coast Guard as the main cause of loss of valuable time, and consequently, of lives.

“The captain of endangered ship Norman Atlantic is of Italian nationality. Understanding the command of the Unified Coordination Centre for Search and Rescue in the English language was not always effective, having serious delays in the execution and implementation “, declared Rear Admiral of the Coast Guard, Nicholas Patrinos.

But the absence of the cooperation plan was not the only error. The fire doors were not working!

It is such an international ship line. One of the most frequent Greece-Italy ferry trips from Patras to Ancona, one that links the two countries since decades, daily.

Whose responsibility was, finally to let , or not to let the ferry leave the Patras Port?

Human bodies might still be burning next to us, on the live “hell” of that ferry, and nobody gives a damnn

Unexplained the delay of the search of the bodies, unknow still in number

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Brindisi Coast Guard Capt. Mario Valente said Monday that searchers are trying to reach lower decks near the Norman Atlantic ferry’s car deck, where a pre-dawn blaze began Dec. 28 while the ferry sailed from Greece toward Italy. But since then, no news about how many might be missing .

ANEK FERRY SURVIVERS

The fire has claimed at least 11 lives. Greece says as many as 19 people might be unaccounted for; Italy says that figure might be much higher. But the lives over there, the bodies, the mind and souls,  are still unknown. And tragically, … nobody noticed.

Not even the greek media wonder who was who and who might be burning next to us, for more than 11,now, days

In Greece, end of the year 2014  

Since the onboard search began there are  high temperatures have thwarted entry into the vehicle deck

Greece on Friday January 3  indicated as many as 19 people are accounted for, while the Italian prosecutor leading the investigation of the fire said a few days earlier the figure is shockingly  higher.

In addition to known missing, it is possible migrants might have come on board secretly when the ferry left Greek ports, possibly hidden in some of the many trucks transported by the ferry.

Apart from the the cause of the blaze that remains unknon even though the black box has been found,  the investigators also want to know if safety rules were violated, including during evacuation.

Mean while so many evidence has come on light . From the very first days, a report for the Safety qualilfications of Norman Atlantic from the Patras port Inspection of the ship, is revealed that was clearly reporting deficiences on the fiere doors ,  just 9 days before the tagedy, on December 19 Marine engineers and specialists , talking to the media the last days, said that the fire doors  are the basic for the fire not to spread to a ship. Fires do occur in the garage areas of the ships often, they have stated, but they don’t threat the whole

We’ll only have an exact number (of victims) when the wreckage can be inspected,” said Cmdr. Floriana Segreto of the Italian Coast Guard. A sea-and-air search of the water around the ship continued as the ferry was being secured for towing, she said.

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The Italian Coast Guard said 427 people were rescued from the ferry. That figure, plus the 11 dead, would mean at least 438 people had been onboard.

That’s 39 people  less than the 477 people Greek officials said were on the register – leading to questions about Italy’s rescue tally or suggestions the ferry also carried an unknown number of unregistered migrants.

But on Wednesday, December 31, “ninety-eight people were still unaccounted ” Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.

It’s not clear if those people ever boarded the ferry – which left Greece on Saturday bound for Italy – if they were rescued, or if they died in the fire or in the sea. Hundreds were rescued in the maritime disaster but the exact number of ferry survivors and how many were on board to begin with are still not known.

Volpe told Sky TG24 TV it was important to have the ferry towed to Italy “to see if there are bodies aboard…to ascertain what caused the fire and to see if safety measures were respected.”

He said until the wreck was examined, he couldn’t venture a possible cause for the blaze.

The Italian captain of the Italian-made ferry, which was operated by a Greek company, was questioned in the southern port of Bari by prosecutors for more than five hours on Wednesday. Since a probe is underway, Volpe would not give any details about the questioning.

Nearly 40 survivors finally stepped ashore on Wednesday in the Italian port of Taranto, brought by one of the cargo ships that rescued passengers from the flaming, smoke-shrouded ferry in the first hours of the maritime disaster. The blaze on the ferry’s car deck sent people scrambling for their lives in the freezing cold, pelted by rain and buffeted by gale-force winds on the uncovered top deck.

Some survivors were taken to Bari, and others were headed to the other Italian port Brindisi, while other rescue ships were directed to Greece, Croatia and Malta, an Italian official said. Hundreds of  passengers — some suffering from hypothermia or smoke inhalation — were taken directly to hospitals on the Italian mainland by helicopter.

Sources: BRINDISI, Italy (AP) and more