Ninety-eight passengers of the Greek-operated Norman Atlantic ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea on Sunday have not been accounted for, according a justice official in the Italian port of Bari.
Associated Press reports that it is uncertain whether the missing passengers boarded the Italian-made vessel, or were killed in the disaster, or rescued.
Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe told the Italian ANSA news agency that he hoped that Greek authorities would be able to establish how many people had been rescued by various ships and brought to Greece.
Eleven people are known to have died as a result of the fire, while hundreds of survivors have been plucked from the sea. However, the total number of passengers aboard the ill-fated vessel — which was sailing from Greece to Italy when the fire broke out — has still not been established.
Greece’s merchant marine ministry has accused Italy of botching the identification of the rescued and missing. “The information forwarded to us so far by Italian authorities contains names listed twice and misspellings in the names registered,” it said.
Meanwhile, poor weather hampered efforts Wednesday to tow the ferry to Italy for an investigation and a search that could turn up more dead.
The Italian captain has been questioned by the authorities in Bari, who refuse to divulge further details pending the results of their investigations.