Pavlos Fantakis from Chania, deputy captain of “Norman Atlantic”, is being accused by Italian Authorities -along with three other people- as responsible for the tragic accident of “Norman Atlantic”.
Italian Press and ANSA News Agency have publicized those four names, as the District Attorney of Bari asked for the prosecution of the legal representative of ANEK Lines in Italy, the deputy captain of “Norman Atlantic” and two other crew members, named Luigi Giovine and Francesco Romano.
The captain of the ship, Argilio Giacomacci and the owner, Carlo Visentini, are also accused for multiple homicide and for causing a shipwreck.
More shocking testimonies
Shocking testimonies have been forthcoming from survivors of the Norman Atlantic ferry disaster. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera referred to the eye-witness accounts of three Albanian nationals who were on the wreck and saw people dying. “We saw people dying of asphyxia, with their bodies on the ship,” say the three survivors. “When the fire safety door closed, there were many trapped behind us who couldn’t open it. They banged with their hands so that we would open them but we were unable to. We clearly saw two of these people from behind the fire-proof glass falling dead from asphyxia.”
The nightmare continued even on the deck when they saw another passenger falling from great heights as he was being winched to safety by the helicopter. The man’s body crashed onto the deck. “There was blood, but we don’t know if he survived or not,” they say.
The three survivors also note that they had to break the storage rooms in order to find life jackets. They accuse crew members of getting into the life boats and abandoning the passengers on board.
Norman Atlantic: Details of what the inspections had shown
Italian accusations that the Norman Atlantic ferry had not been adequately checked before departing from the Greek port were proved wrong following the publication of two documents late on Friday showing that all the necessary checks had taken place prior to the ferry’s departure for the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona route.
Licensed inspectors had seen the boat at the port of Piraeus. Furthermore, the ferry had also been evaluated as seaworthy by Spanish Authorities on June 15, 2014, and by Italian authorities on September 23, 2014, and November 12, 2014.
Greek authorities have clarified that the ferry had not stated the transport of any dangerous cargo.
It had been checked by licensed inspectors at the port of Piraeus according to EC legislature 1999/35 for passenger ships prior to starting its voyages on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona route.
The same ship had undergone supervisions by Spanish authorities at the port of Gijon on June 15, 2004, and again by Italian authorities on September 23, 2014, and November 13, 2014, from the ports of Messina, Sicily, and the port of Salerno.
During the Greek checks on December 19,2014, there were six comments pinpointed of which two were immediately rectified prior to the end of the supervision, and the other four were agreed to be put in place within a fortnight according to the EC legislation 1999/35.
Comments that were rectified
A. A number of fireproof doors, including no. 112, did not close properly. The crew immediately got to work and rectified this problem prior to the completion of the evaluation at the Greek port.
B. A small leak from the ramp leading to the main car deck at the lower deck was noted. The crew immediately got to work and rectified this problem prior to the completion of the evaluation at the Greek port.
Four points that needed to be rectified in 14 days
A. The SAR Plan for search and rescue had not been approved by the Piraeus Hellenic Coast Guard. SAR Plans should not be linked to other arrangements to deal with dangerous situations. The ferry had 14 days in which to comply to the SAR Plan with the Hellenic Coast Guard’s request. The Italian Maritime Directorate of Ancona – the 7th Maritime Rescue sub-Center gave its approval for the SAR plan on December 22, 2014.
B. The International Convention of Maritime Safety provides for the use of portable rechargeable lights in some part of the engine. The ferry had a lack of supplementary emergency lighting on escape routes from machinery, and the ferry had to rectify this problem within 14 days. The main lighting and backup lighting, however, functioned normally.
C. Inspectors observed that there was inadequate labeling in accommodation spaces and labeling primary and secondary routes from the accommodation spaces to pools. The ferry was given a fortnight to rectify this problem.
D. Inspectors found that some passenger accommodation spaces needed to supplement existing signage leading to gathering stations on the ship with indications A and B.
The Norman Atlantic had the ability to cover the transport of 499 passengers whereas the rescue appliances on the ship were to cover the needs of 880 occupants.