Just breaking comes the news that an as yet to be named passenger ship (now positively identified as a small freighter, see update below) has sent a distress call after the discovery of ‘armed men’ on board.
The vessel- believed to be of Moldovan registry- is currently off the Greek island of Corfu. The registry seems to point towards this being a ferry, rather than a cruise ship.
The report came first via NERIT, the Greek state owned television media station.
Meanwhile, two Albanian seaman have been killed in attempting to rescue passengers and crew from the stricken Norman Atlantic ferry in the Aegean. It seems that the two men were part of a working tug boat crew.
And, despite claims that all rescue operations on the stricken ferry are complete- and the list of fatalities on board currently stands at ten- there seems to be a worrying discrepancy between the numbers actually reported as saved, and those counted as originally embarked via the passenger manifest. Four UK citizens are reported as among those rescued.
However, there has been widespread praise for the Italian master of the vessel. Captain Argilio Giacomazzi stayed in charge on board the stricken vessel for more than thirty-six hours after sending out the original distress call.
More details here as they come through. Stay tuned.
The highly regarded website, gCaptain (www.gCaptain.com) is reporting that the vessel sending the distress call is the BLUE SKY M, a small cargo carrier. She is said to be carrying several hundred migrants on board.
31ST DECEMBER UPDATE:
Latest reports state that the Blue Sky M was, in fact, abandoned by her crew at sea. No sign of any armed men has been found on board and the ship, carrying an estimated 1,000 mainly Syrian refugees, has been brought safely into the Italian port of Gallipoli.