- Title: ALBANIA-RENZI Italian PM promises prosecution will find out cause of ferry fire
- Date: 30th December 2014
- Summary: TIRANA, ALBANIA (DECEMBER 30, 2014) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER EDI RAMA AND OTHER OFFICIALS WAITING FOR ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER, MATTEO RENZI, TO ARRIVE
- Embargoed: 14th January 2015 12:00
- Location: Albania
- Country: Albania
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA5O16TC5PRUFU9HT4K64WWW5TU
- Story Text: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Tuesday (December 30) praised rescue workers for their dedication in saving lives after a ferry with hundreds of passengers on board caught fire off the Greek coast.
Speaking of the Norman Atlantic ferry disaster, Renzi said that prosecution will find out the cause of this accident that killed as many as 11 people.
As the death toll continued to rise, Renzi again praised the "heroism" of the rescuers who helped save 427 people in difficult conditions, preventing what he said could have been a "massacre".
"We stand together with our thoughts, prayers, and solidarity for all the families of the victims and everything that went on the Norman Atlantic boat. Our prayers also go to the Turkish sailors who died at the Ravenna coast. For everything that happened there the prosecution will find out the cause," Renzi told journalists in Albania's Tirana.
"I thank Mr. Rama for swift cooperation, (Albanian) minister of defence who contacted (Italy's defence minister Roberta) Pinnoti. There was a good cooperation with (Greek) Prime Minister Samaras. I send my condolences to the two families of the sailors who took part in the rescue operation. After all these tragedies the joint work of Albanian, Greek, and Italian institutions makes us proud, including the Italian marine, the people at the ports, air forces, and civil protection. For all those who intervened there were moments of heroism as 400 lives were saved in rough weather and under circumstances where it was impossible to put down the fire," Renzi said.
Two Albanian seamen were killed on Tuesday during the salvage of a multi-deck car ferry that caught fire off Greece's Adriatic Coast two days ago, killing at least 11 people, with dozens more missing.
The men were killed when a cable connecting their tugboat to the smoldering hulk of the Norman Atlantic snapped and hit them, an Albanian port authority official and Italy's navy said.
As salvage operations continued, there was confusion over the numbers on the ship, with dozens of names on the passenger manifest unaccounted for and no clarity over whether they had drowned or had not actually been aboard in the first place.
It was also unclear how many people, including illegal immigrants, may have boarded without being recorded. Italy and Greece have opened separate investigations into what caused the fire which broke out on a lower deck.
One more body was recovered on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 11, the Italian navy said, while 427 people had been rescued, bringing the total well short of the 478 names recorded on the ship's manifest.
Italian and Greek helicopters and rescue vessels battled rough seas and high winds for 36 hours, winching scores of people off the deck as the blaze continued below.
Passengers saved from the wreck began arriving in Italy on Monday and the San Giorgio amphibious transport ship is due to bring more survivors to the port of Brindisi later on Tuesday.
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