An Italian ferry carrying over 400 passengers has caught fire.
An Italian ferry carrying over 400 passengers has caught fire near Adriatic near Corfu.Twitter

Dozens of ships and aircrafts are on its way to rescue over 400 passengers trapped in the burning Italian ferry ― Norman Atlantic ― which caught fire in the Adriatic Sea near Corfu.

The reason for the fire is yet to be confirmed. It is reported that the fire was noticed at around 6am local time about 40 miles north of Corfu, close to the Albanian city of Vlora. The vessel was travelling from Patras in Greece to Ancona in Italy.

Search opearations have been affected largely due to heavy wind activity in the region. Both Italian and Albanian authorities are cooperating in the rescue mission.

The Greek authorities told Sky News that explosions are still being heard on board the ship.

One passenger told a Greek TV channel: "They tried to lower some boats, but not all of us could get in. There is no coordination. It's dark, the bottom of the vessel is on fire. We are on the bridge, we can see a boat approaching... we opened some boxes and got some life vests, we are trying to save ourselves."

Another person told the MEGA TV channel: "We could see fire everywhere. The flames were coming from the garage, cabins..."

The ship, carrying 222 vehicles, 411 passengers and 55 crew, was 44 nautical miles northwest off the island of Corfu when it sent a distress signal after a fire started in the lower deck.