A fire has erupted on board Euroferry Olympia, an Italian-flagged roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) passenger ship, off the Greek island Ereikoussa.

The mishap took place last week on 18 February, when the vessel was sailing from Greece to Italy.

The 183m-long vessel, operated by Italian shipping firm GRIMALDI LINES, was carrying 239 passengers and 51 crew members.

Furthermore, Euroferry Olympia had 153 commercial vehicles and 32 cars on board.

After receiving the vessel’s distress signal, Italian and Greek authorities immediately sent tugboats, patrol ships and helicopters to the scene.

Local fishing boats were also involved in the rescue operation.

Nearly 280 people have been evacuated and taken to the neighbouring island of Corfu, however, some individuals are still missing.

The missing people include Bulgarian, Turkish and Greek nationals.

In a statement, Grimaldi said: “No fuel spill has been detected at sea, nor does the stability of the ship appear to be compromised.”

The Italian Coast Guard, Naval and Air units are involved and working towards preventing potential marine pollution in the area of the mishap.

Italian Guardia di Finanza and the Hellenic Coast Guard are overseeing the situation on board Euroferry Olympia.

The Italian authorities have also turned to the European Maritime Safety Authority for support in investigating environmental issues.

After being adrift in Albanian waters, the 1995-built ferry is now being towed to the port of Kassiopi, Corfu.

The cause of the fire is also being investigated.

The 33,588 gross tonne ship has the capacity to accommodate 560 passengers.

In a similar incident last week, a fire broke out on Felicity Ace, a luxury car carrying ship, off the coast of Portugal’s Azores islands while the vessel was sailing through the Atlantic Ocean.