CARACAS, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Nine sailors were confirmed dead aboard a Greek cargo ship off a Venezuelan Caribbean island after the vessel caught fire, the official Venezuelan news agency ABN reported Friday.
The "Aegean Wind" was en route from Brazil to Houston of the United States when one engine room caught fire before dawn on Friday about 33 nautical miles (61 km) northeast of the island of Blanquilla.
Officials from the Venezuelan navy have confirmed the bodies to be those of the nine sailors reported missing earlier in the day. Six of the dead were from the Philippines and three from Greece.
Rafael Lugo, the national commander of Venezuela's Maritime Rescue and Aid service, said five others suffered burns of different levels in the fire and were sent to a nearby hospital by helicopter. The rest of the crew members were rescued. The vessels had 24 crew members.
Navy officials said the cause of the fire remained unknown.