Fire Reignites Aboard Ro/Ro Euroferry Olympia as Search Continues
Ten days after the fire first began on the Ro/Ro Euroferry Olympia, it was reignited as firefighters attempted to reach portions of the vessel that they have so far been unable to access. The fire was quickly brought under control raising hopes that the teams will be able to complete the search of the hulk which is now docked in Greece.
Firefighters had reported that there remained hot spots aboard the vessel since it was brought to the dock at the Port of Astakos. The hope had been to cool and ventilate the hull so that they could reach the lowest deck of the garage and other areas of the vessel.
According to reports from the Hellenic Fire Service, after they released the stern car ramp and worked to lower it by attaching a crane to it, the oxygen that was permitted into the spaces caused the fire to reignite. Pictures could be seen of smoke once again coming from the vessel with fire trucks at the stern and a fireboat alongside. The decision was made to lower the stern ramp to gain better access to the ship and it also permitted the firefighters to have access to the new fire. By late today, the fire was reported extinguished.
The teams will begin pulling the burnout trucks from the garage to gain better access. The plan is to load the wrecks onto the dock where they can be further inspected while teams also gain better access inside the ship. Previous reports said that the teams had been able to send remote cameras into some of the sections of the ship as they search for the people who remain listed as missing.
Last Friday, February 25, search teams recovered three additional bodies all from the garages. Two bodies were found on the third level and one more on the second level. It was unclear if they had been found in vehicles. Earlier in the week teams reported finding one body outside a car of a person they believed suffocated in the fire. Unconfirmed reports said that another person was found in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.
Teams currently believe that there are three people that remain unaccounted for after days of searching the wreckage. However, reports also continue to suggest that the actual toll could be higher due to people that were aboard the vessel illegally. One of the survivors reportedly was not on the manifest leading to reports of multiple stowaways that had come aboard the vessel in Greece.
The ferry’s owner, Grimaldi Group, responded to the criticisms from the Greek truck drivers’ association of over overcrowding and poor conditions saying that their booking system did not permit overbooking and the vessel was well under capacity when it departed Greece. They also pointed out that international regulations required passengers not to be in the garage during the trip and that crew members were assigned to monitor the garage while the vessel was underway.
Investigations are ongoing in Greece and the Italian Coast Guard reported that it was also observing. No information has been released into the possible cause of the fire.