A few days ago firefighters managed to extinguish all fires in Norman Atlantic, which was towed to Brindisi’s port. Italian authorities entered the ship and started their investigations yesterday.
During the last days of December fire broke out in the lower deck of Norman Atlantic, an Italian ship, while it was travelling from Greece to Italy. The fire turned out to be a tragedy. Due to severe weather conditions and Beaufort of high intensity, it took almost two days for Greek and Italian rescuers to transfer hundreds of passengers to a safe place. Many of them were mainly suffering of hypothermia or mild carbon monoxide poisoning and were immediately taken to the hospital.
A whole mystery is surrounding this tragedy. Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation as the reason that caused the fire is still unknown. In the next few days, investigators will examine the ship’s black boxes in order to find out more about what happened that night.
Furthermore, prosecutors are expecting to find information about the captain of the ship, Argilio Giacomazzi, from the black boxes. Many of the survivors accused him of abandoning the ship first, however he denied the accusations.
Another problem is about naming the exact number of passengers who were travelling with Norman Atlantic. There was confusion on the official lists by the Italian authorities during the first days. Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said at a press conference that the exact number of passengers was not clear. He explained that the reason was that many of the passengers might have left the ship in the last stop, before the fire broke out, or because of errors on the passengers’ lists.
So far, 11 people are officially dead and more than 400 have been rescued. The number of passengers who are still missing is still unclear as it is not sure how many of them jumped in the sea in order to get away from the burning ship or how many of them were trapped in their cars in the garage.
Besides that, Giovanni Pettorino, Italian navy Admiral, said that there were 80 people among the survivors that were not at all in the passengers’ lists.
“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.
According to the prosecutor of Bari, who is responsible for the investigations, DNA tests and autopsies are going to be held over the next days.
Some bodies have been already recovered from Norman Atlantic. The bodies had wounds that resemble shark bites on them. However, investigators do not know if people were alive or dead when sharks attacked them and are still waiting for the autopsies.
By Valia Papadopoulou