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.
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…..”
- 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 .
- 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.”
- 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 ?