Eight Fatalities, Criminal Investigation Launches, Evacuation Ends of Norman Atlantic Ferry Incident

t least eight people died from an incident which occurred aboard the Norman Atlantic ferry — which was carrying 478 people from Patras in Greece to Ancona in Italy — when a fire reportedly ignited on the car deck of the ferry for reasons still yet to be known as it was passing off the coast of Vlore in Albania.

Meanwhile, the process of evacuating people ended with Argilio Giacomazzi — the captain of the vessel — being the last person to be rescued greater than 36 hours after sending out a distress signal; and prosecutors from Italy announced on Monday that they had launched a criminal investigation into this incident and would look into whether or not negligence had played a role, according to this article by the British Broadcasting Corporation — better known as BBC.

The evacuation operation was reportedly “long and complex”, impeded by strong winds, cold weather, and thick smoke.

Although the nationalities of the people aboard the ferry boat were from such countries as Albania, Great Britain, Turkey, Germany and Italy, 234 passengers and 34 crew members were reportedly from Greece.

This incident reminded me of the demise of the Costa Concordia luxury cruise ship almost three years ago, which reportedly carried 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew members when it ran aground off the coast of Italy, resulting in at least 32 fatalities.

It also reminded me of the incident which involved the Sewol — a ferry which was transporting almost 500 people when it capsized on April 16, 2014 due to multiple alleged safety violations, resulting in greater than 300 fatalities.

There have been other reports of fires aboard cruise ships — including both the Grandeur of the Seas in May of 2013 and the Triumph in February of 2013

…so does this mean that you should avoid traveling aboard sea-faring vessels such as ferries and cruise ships? I personally would say no for the reasons I cited pertaining to whether or not commercial aviation is safe after four — make that five to now include the disappearance of an aircraft operated by AirAsia Indonesia — major incidents.

In the meantime, my thoughts are with the passengers and crew members — as well as their loved ones — involved in this incident aboard the Norman Atlantic ferry.

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