Ship fire kills nine Greek and Filipino sailors in Caribbean Sea

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A blaze on the cargo vessel Aegean Sea has left three Greek and six Filipino sailors dead. Fire broke out in the Greek ship's engine room in the Caribbean Sea while it was 160km (100 miles) north of the Venezuelan mainland and close to Margarita Island.

The Venezuelan Navy provided assistance after the fire broke out and five more of the twenty-four crew-members were airlifted to hospital. The nine who were killed were reported missing and later found dead in various compartments throughout the ship. The fire had spread upwards through much of the vessel, which had been carrying iron ore from Brazil to Texas.

The injured were two men from the Philippines who received third-degree burns on their hands and faces while three Greeks had minor burns. All were taken to the mainland by the Venezuelan Maritime Rescue and Aid Service. The fire broke out before dawn yesterday when the ship was 33 nautical miles (61 km) from Blanquilla.

The navy stated that the cause is unknown and the ship, which has all ten of its remaining crew still on board, will be towed to Margarita.