Ship’s Distress Call: ‘Armed People On Board The Ship’

Another ship’s distress call was intercepted just two days after no less than 11 people were killed and more than 400 people were rescued when a fire broke out on an Italian ferry near the Greek island Corfu. The head of the coast guard’s security operations, Admiral Nikolaos Patrinos, reported a passenger sent out a ship’s distress call from the Blue Sky M cargo ship, about 10 miles off the shores of Corfu.

This ship’s distress call originated from a lone passenger aboard the vessel.

“Armed people on board the ship.”

Later, the Daily Mail reported authorities also intercepted another ship’s distress call.

“We are without water, food, and blankets.”

According to a report by the Telegraph, the Greek navy sent out the Hellenic Navy frigate Navarino and an S-70 Sikorsky helicopter to try to locate the cargo ship on the northern Ionian Sea. However, a coast guard official said the Greek frigate had contacted the ship’s captain, who said the ship does not request assistance and is not in any kind of danger.

Authorities believe the ship is carrying about 600 migrants. Each year, tens of thousands of refugees and migrants try to escape to the European Union. Most of them are fleeing poverty and conflict in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Many of these people risk their lives when crossing the perilous sea to Greece or Italy.

Earlier this week the Norman Atlantic, a Greek passenger ferry, caught on fire in the same area. Reports are that early in the morning the blaze on the ship started on the car deck when the vessel was close to 44 nautical miles northwest of the Greek island Corfu. This disaster resulted in a two-day massive rescue operation by Greek and Italian military officials and the coast guard. Though more than 400 people were rescued, no less than 11 people died in that most regrettable incident and authorities are still searching for missing ferry passengers.

In a recent ship’s distress call authorities received from the Blue Sky M, the vessel was tracked going northwest of Corfu, headed towards Croatia. However, since receiving the distress signal, tracking services showed the ship made a sharp turn, setting its course towards the shores of Italy.

This afternoon, BBC producer Piers Scholfield tweeted that officials in Greece sent a frigate to answer the ship’s distress call and aid the Blue Sky M and they were able to make contact. However, rescuers were told that the ship was not in danger but was in need of food supplies.

Scholfield also posted this tweet.

“‘Greek coastguard spokesman tells my colleague the ship Blue Sky M is now under Italian jurisdiction & no one on board is in danger.”

In response to the ship’s distress call, two military helicopters were able to fly over the Blue Sky M this afternoon and reported there was no sign of life onboard.

[Photo courtesy of EPA]

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