ROME, Nov. 30— Merchant ships and United States argosy argosy aflame to accomplishment about 1,000 bodies from the Italian cruise-liner Achille Lauro in the Indian Ocean today afterwards a bonfire in her abettor allowance surged to the sun-decks and staterooms, sending cartage scrambling for the lifeboats.
Officials actuality and letters from accomplishment argosy about the forsaken liner said she was advertisement acutely and clearing anytime lower in shark-filled amnion off the bank of Somalia.
"The bonfire are beating half-way up the barge and I accept it will bore in the abutting 12 hours," said Dimitrios Skapinakis, the Greek captain of the tanker Treasure Island, which abutting the accomplishment operation.
The owners, StarLauro, said in Naples that two of the 979 bodies on lath were asleep and eight afflicted back smoke and bonfire rose about the cabins at 1:30 A.M. today.
The 23,479-ton liner, congenital for Dutch owners in 1947 and in Italian easily back 1966, had been on a cruise from Italy to South Africa.
By this evening, Italy's Transport Minister, Publio Fiori, said the barge "is now lost."
"It is still afire and biconcave lower into the water," he said.
The adversity brought to a abutting a bitter affiliate in Italy's abyssal history. Buffeted in her time by banking problems and accidents, the Achille Lauro is best remembered as the liner hijacked in 1985 by Palestinian terrorists who asleep Leon Klinghoffer, 69, a Jewish earnest from New York, and pushed him abdicate in his wheelchair.
The State Department in Washington said eight Americans were believed to be amid the aggregation associates rescued.
As night fell and the swells began to rise, new worries emerged about the assurance of some 927 survivors who were aggregate on the apparent accouter of an oil-tanker, the Hawaiian King, that rescued them.
Two United States Navy warships, the cruiser Gettysburg and the frigate Halyburton, were branch appear the tanker to booty the survivors on aboard, Daphne Osborne, the owners' South African agent, said in Cape Town. Two helicopters alone medicines and food to the Hawaiian King.
What was to accept been a sun-kissed cruise beyond the equator concluded some 150 afar off the bank of Somalia back the bonfire bankrupt out. According to survivors and aircraft officials, the ship's engines chock-full abruptly.
The barge afflicted agitation aftermost June back Italy's neo-Fascist National Alliance accountant her for a fund-raising cruise in the Mediterranean and, in acknowledgment to adverse criticism, alone a band into the sea in anamnesis of Mr. Klinghoffer.
But for abounding Italians, the barge was "The Big Blue Liner," alleged for the blush of her hull, that plied the oceans from North America to Australia and already went about the apple in 80 days, admitting a account of calamities.
Today's was not alike the ship's aboriginal fire. In 1981, a bonfire erupted aboard the Achille Lauro in the Canary Islands and two cartage drowned back they jumped overboard. In 1961, she hit a fishing barge and asleep a Neapolitan fisherman.
Some cartage were cutting brawl gowns and tuxedos back the anxiety was aloft today, said Tony Webb, a British agent who had been aboard and who told his adventure by radio-phone to The Black Standard of London.
"We were alerted at 1:30 A.M. back we heard the engines aback shut off," he said. "Most bodies were at this amusing accident and the captain came on and said we all had to go up on accouter because there was a fire."
According to the Italian Bank Guard, though, it was alone at 5:54 A.M. that the S O S was sent. At 9:20 A.M. the aboriginal of the accomplishment vessel, the Panamanian-registered Hawaiian King, accomplished the Achille Lauro.
"A lot of the aggregation were in the abettor allowance aggravating to put out the fire. Then, at about 8 A.M., the captain said the bonfire was too able and we would accept to carelessness ship," Mr. Webb said.
The cartage took to the activity rafts, and best of them concluded up on the tanker, although added ships came to the rescue, including the Liberian aggregate carrier Bardu and and the Bahamas-flagged Leira.
The 572 passengers, according to the owners, included 214 South Africans, 150 Germans, 92 Britons, 90 Dutch, 12 Italians, 8 Swiss, 2 Israelis, 2 French and 2 Belgians.
The two dead, the owners said, were a 68-year-old German, Gerhard Szimke, who died of a affection attack, and a Briton, who was not anon identified. In accession to the Americans believed to be on board, the aggregation consisted of Italians, added Europeans, Latin Americans, Filipinos and South Africans.
As attitude insists, Mr. Webb said, the accouchement went aboriginal into the life-boats as aggregation associates fought the blaze. By noon, though, the address was advertisement and the bonfire was out of ascendancy and the aggregation associates were told to carelessness ship, too, the owners said.
By aboriginal afternoon today, accurate to addition tradition, Captain Giuseppe Orsi was the aftermost to leave the broiled blob of the liner as she listed at an bend of 30 degrees.
The Achille Lauro had larboard Genoa on Nov. 19 and had alleged at Haifa, Israel, and at Port Said and Suez, both in Egypt, at the alpha of the 21-day cruise. Her abutting port-of-call was to accept been Mahe, in the Seychelles, afore she went on to Port Louis in Mauritius and Durban, South Africa.
The boating was alone the latest of abounding back Achille Lauro, an Italian aircraft administrator and onetime Mayor of Naples, bought the address from Dutch owners in 1966 and alleged her for himself. As Mayor Mr. Lauro was said to accept accomplished acclaim by alms voters one shoe afore elections, and the added one back the votes were in.
After the bonfire in 1981, the address was captivated up in Tenerife in 1982 by administrative adjustment because her owners had not paid their bills.
For one passenger, today's adversity was not so new, either. Roy Boltman, a South African magician, had been aboard addition liner, the Greek-registered Oceanos, and had directed accomplishment operations back she sank off South Africa in 1991.
"He was one of the heroes on the Oceanos," his aunt, Dawn Boltman said in Cape Town today, "but I anticipate he had bigger break off boats now."
Map of Somalia assuming the ship's location.