The Burning Italian Ferry Had Known Fire Door Issues Before It Set Sail

Greece Italian ferryREUTERS/Guardia Costiera/Handout via ReutersThe car ferry Norman Atlantic burns in waters off Greece December 28, 2014.

Seven people have died after a ferry caught fire in the Adriatic Sea on Sunday morning.

It’s not clear what started the fire, however, an inspection conducted less than two weeks ago found up to six “deficiencies” on the vessel, named the Norman Atlantic. 

Paris MoU, an international independent organisation that “aims at eliminating the operation of sub-standard ships through a harmonized system of port State control” as it states on its website, inspected the vessel in the port of Patras on Dec. 19 and found several shortfalls in the security systems.

The investigation found six different issues, including a problem with the fire doors. The image below is a screenshot of the inspection report published on the organisation’s website (we added the red highlights):

Italian media reported that the owner of the ferry, Visemar di Navigazione srl, said that all the deficiencies had been looked through before the ship left Patras on Dec. 27. “The problem at the fire door had been immediately resolved and the boat had been given the permit to sail,” it said in a statement.

Hundreds of people were trapped on the ferry after the first blazes started on the lower car deck and quickly spread to the rest of the ship.

To make matters worse, many lifeboats became useless after an electrical blackout thwarted further evacuations, forcing the passengers to wait to be rescued via helicopters.

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