updated 12/25/2009 5:55:18 PM ET 2009-12-25T22:55:18

A fire on a Greek-owned cargo ship in the Caribbean has killed nine crew members and injured five, a Venezuelan navy official said Friday.

Adm. Carlos Maximo Aniasi Turchio told Venezuelan state television that six of the dead crew members were from the Philippines and three from Greece. They had initially been listed as unaccounted for.

He said five injured crew members were taken by helicopter to Margarita Island and were to be transferred later to a military hospital in the capital, Caracas. The fire was extinguished.

The Aegean Wind was carrying more than 37,000 tons of iron ore from Brazil to Houston when a blaze broke out in the mess hall before dawn Friday. The ship was about 100 miles north of Venezuela.

At least one helicopter, a hydroplane and several ships were sent by Venezuela to the scene. Greek media reported that, although the fire has died down, there was thick smoke coming from the ship, which was making it difficult for rescuers to approach.

The Aegean Wind had a 24-member crew made up of 15 Filipinos and nine Greeks.

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