The whole world watches the tragedy of the vessel “Norman Atlantic”, which still contin in Adriatic sea for the last five days.
The vessel owned by the Italian company Grimaldi and rent by the Cretan ANEK Lines, departed from the port of Patras on Saturday evening the 27th of December 2014 with final destination the Italian port of Ancona via Igoumenitsa – another Greek port.
At 4 am of the 28th of December, a fire burst in one of the garages of the ship, while the latter was sailing 32 nautical miles Northwest of Othoni (small Greek island NW of Corfu). The captain, according to published information, initially estimated that the crew was capable of extinguishing the fire. Thus for, he did not immediately send a Mayday signal, resulting in loss of precious time. It was only before 9 am did the rescue operations begin. Greek and Italian fireboats, as well as nearby sailing ships, approached the spot, which was then in the Italian sea, in order to provide their help. Nevertheless, the extremely bad weather conditions in the area, where the wind was reaching 9 Beauforts and the constant heavy rainfall, turned the rescue operation dramatically difficult. The first passengers succeeded in boarding a rescue boat and were collected by the mearby sailing boats after several hours, whereas, according to survivors, panic prevailed.
The unclear and confusing information concerning the number and identity of the passengers, survivors, drown and missing persons are indicative of the panic and the poor organization of the salvage operation.
Today, five days after the tragedy, the Italian and Greek authorities continue blaming each other for “false passengers’ list”, “erroneous survivors’ records”, “misinformation on the identity of the survivors”. At the same time, survivors protest the lack of information and the bad organization of rescue operations by the Authorities. Meanwhile, the official records speak about eleven drown persons, two of which are Greek, whereas more bodies are to be identified, since relatives of missing persons from Greece are arriving in Italy today, 2nd of January noon.
The number of passengers, according to information published so far, varies from 428 to 499 persons. The Greek authorities received a list of 477 survivors by the Italian coast guard. Nine bodies have been recovered. Two, although spotted, were unable to be recovered due to bad weather conditions, whereas the estimated number of missing persons is ten.
After several efforts to tug the ship, the last effort begun yesterday evening, trying to tug Norman Atlantic from the Albanian coast to the Italian port of Brindizi. The ferry towed in a tugboat is now sailing with 3 nautical miles towards the port.
The judicial prosecutor of Bari ordered the confiscation and further research of the vessel, in order not only to clarify the causes of the fire but also to examine if there are any other bodies in the garage and lower decks as, according to survivors, many drivers were to spend the nights in their trucks, whereas it is further speculated that illegal migrants were on board.
Recently published information claim that, although the vessel was only five years old, following inspection of the port authorities of Patras on the 19th of December, several omissions were observed, concerning her waterproofing system, her rescue means as well as the emergency lights. The owner company was given a 15 days notice to fix these problems.
The passengers, apart form the loss of their vehicles and their personal belongings and the relatives of the tragic victims have, in any case, a whole range of rights and can revert to justice against all liable parties for damages, not only physical but also moral.
An in depth evaluation is necessary, in order to clearly determine the passenger's rights and to evaluate the claims published so far in the Press concerning omissions on the boat, erroneous handling of the parties participating in the rescue operations, according to provisions of special laws and international conventions on rights of passengers carried by sea.
Our office as member of the GLOBAL JUSTICE NETWORK one of the most experienced and prominent organizations in the world specializing in Maritime accidents (www.globaljusticenetwork.com) is already in contact with survivors of the ΝΟRMAN ATLANTIC plans and provides them legal support and advice on defending and protecting their legal rights in this complex situation where claims for losses and moral damages arise.
In this effort the Global Justice Network with its expertise in the handling of maritime accidents and the appropriate representation of victims, among which -indicatively - are: the complex maritime accident AL SALAM BOCCACIO in the Red Sea, the EXPRESS SAMINA sinking in the Aegean, the sinking of the cruise-ship SEA DIAMOND, the sinking of the cruise-ship COSTA CONCORDIA, the major maritime tragedy of the DONA PAZ, also by fire, the multi-deaths tragedy onboard the AEGEAN WIND, also by fire, the collision between mv BALTIC ACE and mv CORVUS J. off Rotterdam, the collision of mv ATLANTIC COMET with a fishing vessel, the collision of mv KARAM I with mv ALEXANDER DP in Bulgaria, the sinking of mv KELPHI in the Mediterranean, the collision of ferry SAMAINA with the military submarine KOSTAKOS in Greece, the sinking of the fishing trawler LYBERIOS in Greece.
The Global Justice Network as the ideal international platform of size to offer proper and full support to the victims of this tragedy remains at the disposal of those in need who claim losses both in human lives and in material damages as well as moral damages from the Norman Atlantic tragedy for a free initial consultation and advise. Please use our contact form and one of the Global Justice Network specialists will get in touch with you without any delay. The Global Justice Network has specialized attorneys who are actively looking into this matter from Greece, Italy, Albania, Switzerland,France Turkey,Canada,U.K. Germany Austria and the Netherlands so as to secure the most appropriate representation in this complex case.