Fa­tal 2014 ferry fire blamed on hu­man er­ror

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A se­ries of safety vi­o­la­tions were to blame for a deadly fire on the Nor­man At­lantic ferry boat on De­cem­ber 28, 2014, which claimed at least 11 lives as it was headed from Greece to Italy, ex­perts have con­cluded.

An Ital­ian team of ex­perts this week sub­mit­ted a 650-page re­port to au­thor­i­ties in Italy on the find­ings from their in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the scorched ship and events that led to the death of 11 pas­sen­gers and an un­de­ter­mined num­ber of stow­aways.

The team found that the mis­takes started at Pa­tra port, the Ital­ian-man­aged ship’s first stop, and Igoumenitsa, its sec­ond, with trucks be­ing hap­haz­ardly loaded onto the car deck and the re­frig­er­ated trucks be­ing plugged into the ferry’s cen­tral cir­cuit by a trainee rather than the ship’s chief elec­tri­cian. Af­ter the fire started on Car Deck 4, at least two mem­bers of the crew did not take the first signs of fire se­ri­ously, and one en­gi­neer failed to no­tify the bridge af­ter see­ing smoke.

The crew’s re­sponse af­ter the fire spread is de­scribed as “chaotic.” It failed to di­rect panic-stricken pas­sen­gers ac­cord­ing to ba­sic safety pro­ce­dures or to make ef­fec­tive use of lifeboats. “The en­tire emer­gency man­age­ment sys­tem... shows ob­vi­ous and in­her­ent de­fects that also point to a high pos­si­bil­ity of hu­man er­ror,” the re­port says.

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