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Fire aboard a ship near Corfu leaves 11 people missing, including 8 Bulgarians.

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One of the passengers reported missing on the Italian ferry on fire off the Greek island of Corfu has been found alive and rescued, the coast guard said on Sunday.

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The young man of 21 who said he comes from Belarus was located at the stern of the Euroferry Olympia in apparently good condition.

“Tell me I’m alive!” he shouted to rescuers, according to the newspaper Proto Thema.

Rescuers had previously detected his presence and were able to board the vessel to give him first aid and evacuate him via a ladder, the Greek authorities said.

But optimism that another 11 lorry drivers — eight of them said to be Bulgarian nationals — faded when the body of a man was found in a burnt-out truck. 

The Italian-owned ferry, which was carrying more than 290 passengers and crew, as well as 153 trucks and 32 cars, caught fire on Friday, three hours after it left the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa, on the mainland, bound for Brindisi, Italy. There, survivors have been recounting their experiences.

The Greek coast guard and other boats evacuated about 280 people to the nearby island of Corfu. Two passengers rescued late on Saturday were not on the ship’s manifest and are thought to be migrants.

The ship was being slowly towed to the port of Kassiopi, in northeastern Corfu, by three tugboats, authorities said. Firefighters were still battling the blaze, which, although confined in certain spaces, reignites from time to time, and thick smoke is hanging over the ship.

The extreme temperatures in some parts of the ship impeded the rescuers — made up of the Greek fire service’s Disaster Management Unit and a team of rescuers from private operators — from searching the whole ship. The ferry was slightly listing from the tons of water poured into it, but authorities said it was not in danger of capsizing.

“Shipping is now just absurdly expensive.”

Key points:

  • By the end of the year, get used to paying up to $7 for a cup.Shipping costs and natural disasters in coffee regions are being blamed for the price increase
  • Australians consume one billion cups of coffee annually, but cafe owners say an increase in price won’t change that

Due to a global shortage of ships and containers, container costs are now over five times what they were two years ago.

Frosts in Brazil have impacted supply.(Supplied: Melbourne Coffee Merchants)

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One of the passengers reported missing on the Italian ferry on fire off the Greek island of Corfu has been found alive and rescued, the coast guard said on Sunday.

The young man of 21 who said he comes from Belarus was located at the back of the ship, AFP was told.

“Tell me I’m alive!” he shouted to rescuers, according to the newspaper Proto Thema.

Rescuers had previously detected his presence and were able to board the vessel to give him first aid and evacuate him via a ladder, the Greek authorities said.

The man is one of a dozen lorry drivers who were missing. Rescue teams are still looking for the other 11, eight of them said to be Bulgarian nationals.

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They were still unaccounted for as smoke continued to billow from the ship on Sunday morning, more than 48 hours after the fire took hold.

“It is overdue and unfortunately it can’t be sustained, and at some point the consumer has to bear that.”

Paving the way for Australian producers

While coffee drinkers will be feeling the pinch, Australian producers like Candy MacLaughlin from Skybury Roasters hopes the increasing cost of imports will pave the way for growth in the local industry, allowing it to compete in the market.

“[In the ] overall cost of business, we haven’t been able to drop our prices to be competitive, so we’ve really worked on that niche base,” Ms MacLaughlin said.

“All those things will help us to grow our coffee plantation once more.”

Candy and her husband Marion produce 40 tonnes of coffee annually but they are prepared to scale up operations(Supplied)

She said the industry could eventually emulate the gin industry, with boutique operations cropping up across the country.

“I believe that there is currently a fluctuating market for Australian coffee, as more and more Australians are beginning to wonder where their food comes from and who grows it,”

What you would get, she said, are many specialized coffee estates that create a very distinctive flavor profile before marketing to certain markets using creative packaging.

“That’s where I see the next stage of the Australian coffee industry going.”

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