Greek ship fire kills one, nine missing after off Venezuela

One crew member was reported dead on a Greek cargo ship after a fire broke out on board off Caribbean island, a Venezuelan official said.

Greek ship fire kills one, nine missing after off Venezuela

One crew member was reported dead, two injured and nine missing on a Greek bulk carrier en route to Houston from Brazil on Friday after a fire broke out on board off the coast of a Venezuelan Caribbean island, a Venezuelan official said.

Rafael Lugo, the national commander of Venezuela's Maritime Rescue and Aid entity, said the Greek ship "Aegean Wind" was 35 nautical miles northeast of the island of La Blanquilla.

"There are nine (people) missing, two wounded and it is already known that there is one (person) dead," he said in comments broadcast by Caracas radio station Union Radio.

"The authorities have taken measures," he said. "(We've) installed an emergency hospital on the island of La Blanquilla."

Medical and civil defense officials were also being dispatched from Porlamar, located on Venezuela's largest Caribbean island of Margarita. The aim was to give crew members first aid before taking them to Margarita, a major tourist resort.

Lugo called on all ships in the vicinity to help in the rescue operation.

In Athens, a Greek coast guard official said a search and rescue operation involving a helicopter, a hydroplane and a Venezuelan coast guard vessel was trying to locate the sailors, assisted by a cargo ship sailing near the Greek vessel.

"The fire is under control, there is no risk of sinking," he said.

"Of the missing crew, three are Greek and the rest Philippine nationals," he added.

The Aegean Wind was carrying iron ore and is operated by Athens-based Atlantic Bulk Carriers, Greek sources said. A lawyer for the company told Greek state TV there were no reports of pollution. The ship, built in 1983, had a crew of 24.

Greek authorities did not know whether the missing crew had jumped into the sea or were trapped in their cabins.

Reuters
Last Mod: 25 Aralık 2009, 23:36
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