After trying all night to put out the flames that ignited Friday on Friday, firefighting vessels surround the Euroferry Olympia. It was carrying more then 290 passengers and crew. About 280 people were evacuated to Corfu by the Greek coast guard and other boats.
Dimitris Karaolanidis, a truck driver, said that he told The Associated Press, "When we got in the boats, he said 'I escaped Hell,'" The Associated Press reported.
Photographs taken Saturday morning revealed thick smoke rising from the ship that was transporting 32 cars and 153 trucks.
A spokeswoman for the Greek coast guard told The Associated Press Saturday afternoon that none the missing persons had been found. However, she stated that small pockets of fire could be seen in the ferry.
The island of Corfu's Greek prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the causes of the fire that broke out just three hours after the ferry left Igoumenitsa on the mainland of northwest Greece for Brindisi, Italy. According to the company operating the ferry from Italy, the fire started in the hold where vehicles were parked.
Authorities said that the ship's captain, as well as two engineers, were taken into custody Friday and released the next day.
Passengers described a dramatic rescue situation.
"We heard an alarm and thought it was a drill. Karaolanidis said that they saw through the portholes and could see people running. "You cannot think of anything at once (other than your family). I saw children and smoke when I got on the deck. They (the crew) responded quickly.
"The moments were tragic. It was hard, guys. Dimitris Karavarnitis, another truck driver, said it was very difficult. "Fortunately, the guys responded quickly and... we will return home to our families. That's what really matters.
After discovering that one passenger from the ferry wasn't on the passenger manifest, authorities raised the number of people missing to 12 on Friday.
Other passengers who were missing are believed to have been mostly from Bulgaria. Officials claimed that the rescuers included citizens from Albania, Turkey and Bulgaria as well as Greece, Italy, Greece, Romania, Greece and Lithuania.