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Albania takes part in rescue efforts on burning Italian-flagged ferry

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-29 10:48

Albania takes part in rescue efforts on burning Italian-flagged ferry

A rescue helicopter flies over the burning car ferry Norman Atlantic as a fire fighting tug boat douches the vessel in the south Adriatic sea December 28, 2014. Hundreds of passengers were trapped on the ferry off Greece on Sunday, pleading to be rescued by a flotilla of nearby ships that battled storm conditions in open water to try to reach them. The Greek coastguard said 150 people had been saved from the Italian-registered Norman Atlantic, which was carrying almost 500 passengers and crew when it sent a distress signal after fire broke out on its lower deck. [Photo/Agencies]

TIRANA - Albania was engaged on Sunday in the operations to rescue passengers trapped on the burning Norman Atlantic ferry between Italy and Albania, local media reported.

There are some 22 Albanian citizens on the ferry. This number could be higher as a result of dual citizenship held by Albanian nationals, according to Albanian ministry of foreign affairs.

Albanian defense ministry said its navy sent a vessel to join the rescue operation shortly after the country's search and rescue centre had been notified of a fire which broke out on the car deck of Norman Atlantic ferry on Sunday morning.

All ports of Albania are on maximum alert to face any situation that may arise from the ferry anchoring in any of these ports and passengers' health emergency, Albanian minister of interior Sajmir Tahiri declared on Sunday.

The fire broke out in the car hold in Norman Atlantic ferry early on Sunday morning. Norman Atlantic leased by a Greek shipping company had left the Greek port of Patras on Saturday afternoon for Italian port of Ancona on the Adriatic. The vast majority of people on board were Greeks.

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