The ferry, the Norman Atlantic, caught fire before sunrise on Sunday. The fire was extinguished over 9 hours later at about 9:30 p.m.
The ferry was traveling from Patras, Greece, to Ancora, Italy when the fire broke out. The weather made rescue nearly impossible, considering the massive winds as a winter storm barreled down on Europe.
A local wind, called a 'Bora Wind' blew in from the Dinaric Alps. Gusts went to 60 m.p.h. according to meteorologist, Dave Samuel.
Both the Italy and Greece participated in the rescue, but the Italian navy was instrumental in bringing some organization into the effort.
Information from the AP, Accuweather.com and the Italian Navy via twitter were used in preparing this report.