Death Toll Rises on Euroferry Olympia as Teams Try to Reach More Areas

Euroferry Olympia death toll
Search teams found the first body on Sunday, another on Wednesday and three today (Image courtesy Hellenic Fire Service)

Published Feb 24, 2022 6:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

Search efforts are continuing aboard the Grimaldi Ro/Ro ferry Euroferry Olympia now that the vessel has been brought to port in Greece. The Hellenic Fire Service reported that it had recovered three additional bodies aboard the vessel, but that its efforts continue to be hampered by conditions. Seven days after the fire began, some portions of the vessel remained too dangerous.

Earlier in the day, the fire teams reported that they had located two bodies one on the second level of the garage and the other on the third level. Both are believed to be Greek truck drivers, although the identities of the two have not yet been confirmed. Few details were issued, but the media is saying that the man found on the second level of the garage was in the driver’s seat of a truck. Yesterday they had indicated that they found one victim outside a car saying that they believed he had died of asphyxia.  

Late this afternoon the fire crew reported that they had located a fifth victim of the fire. This body was found during additional searches of the second level of the garage. Crews believe that they are still searching for six additional victims.

Parts of the vessel remain too dangerous for the crews to enter. Reports indicate that there are high levels of carbon monoxide along with hot spots. The crews have not been able to get to the lowest level of the car deck but media reports said they had been able to send in remote cameras. The Greek newspapers are saying that the fire teams believed they can see one or more victims in areas that they have not been able to enter and as soon as they can vent the ship, they hope to recover the bodies. 

Crews would like to lower the car ramp on the Ro/Ro but reports indicate they fear opening it might restart the fire if they let large quantities of oxygen into the area. There is no indication when they will be able to reach the lowest levels of the vessel.

As crews search the rubble, the investigation into the cause of the fire is also underway. The Greek truck drivers’ association continues to cite poor conditions on the vessel and poor enforcement of rules. Grimaldi in its response said that it was illegal for drivers to remain with their vehicles and that accommodations were designated aboard the vessel for drivers during the nine-hour trip crossing the Adriatic. 

The six individuals who remain listed as missing are believed to be Bulgarian, Turkish, and Greek citizens, all truck drivers traveling aboard the vessel to Italy at the time of the fire.