The wreck of Sarakiniko

First off, the shipwreck off Sarakiniko can evidently be described as nothing more than an excuse for an excursion. In the first few years after the shipping accident, it could actually still be regarded as really spectacular and many curious people have cast a glance at the wreck when visiting the beach at Sarakiniko, since it lies only a little further to the east. But after so many years, the ship has all but disappeared because of the surf and weathering. What remains is a story worth knowing about an event which, happily for all those involved, turned out surprisingly well.

One day after the accident
One day after the accident (photo: Birgit Hofmann)

On 17.12.2003, the tanker “Africa” sailing under the Cambodian flag off the island of Hydra, in other words about halfway between Piraeus and Milos, was in distress at sea because of a mechanical breakdown. With wind speeds of 11 on the Beaufort scale, the ship was driven out of control towards the north coast of Milos. After the last anchor was lost off Glaronisia and the tanker, which was fortunately empty, inevitably threatened to smash against the coast, the Greek Navy evacuated half the crew by helicopter. But the captain insisted on staying on the ship with some of his crew. As the situation came to a head and the tanker finally ran aground off Sarakiniko in the dark, it was no longer possible to evacuate the remaining crew members. Some residents of Milos, having witnessed the drama, drove to the site of the accident and lit up the coast with their car headlights. In the end, the crew managed to swim ashore unharmed.

In the end, no-one was harmed, the tanker was empty so the feared environmental pollution did not occur and Milos was richer by one – admittedly unusual - attraction. In any event, for the first few years after the accident, the wreck off Sarakiniko was very popular with divers and again and again aroused the curiosity of bathers on the beach at Sarakiniko. Now it’s been almost completely eaten away by rust and the sea is making every effort to swallow it entirely.

The disintegration of the wreck over the years

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Update 05/20