Underwater tourism has always attracted crowds, especially thanks to the wrecks that adorn the ocean floors and attract the interest of visitors. Undoubtedly, the marine paradise that goes by the name of Greece, could not leave visitors unsatisfied, giving them the opportunity to explore the magical and mysterious world of the seabed. In fact, many Greek shipwrecks have been classified as monuments, as apart from being photographed many times, they fascinate thanks to their history or the treasure they carried.
The majority of shipwrecks occur in the following sea areas: Dodecanese, Cyclades, Crete, Saronic Gulf, Ionian, Patraic Gulf and central Macedonia. Below, we present to you some famous and other not so well known shipwrecks of Greece:
1. Shipwreck “Britannic” in Kea
On November 21, 1916, in the strait between Makronissos and Kea, the ocean liner “Britannic” sank after hitting a mine, while traveling to the Hospital Station of Lemnos. The “Britannic” was a sister ship of the Titanic. The wreck of the “Britannic” today lies at a depth of 120 meters, has been classified as a monument and is available for diving.
2. Shipwreck “Dimitrios” in Gythio
The cargo ship – mystery near Gytheio is a 67 meter long ship, which since December 23, 1981 has been stranded on Valtaki beach, 5 kilometers from the port of Gythio. The ship was carrying cigarettes between Turkey and Italy. It had been confiscated from the port in Gythio but was washed away by the sea to Valtaki beach. They then set a fire to hide evidence of cigarette smuggling. According to others, the ship remained anchored in the port of Gythio following financial problems that led to the dismissal of the crew, where it remained due to its dangerousness. Finally, it ran aground in Valtaki.
3. Shipwreck “Dimitrios P.” in Gramvousa, Crete
On December 30, 1967, the ship was leaving Chalkida for North Africa, carrying 440 tons of cement. The weather conditions were unfavorable, as a result of which it was forced to anchor in Kythera. On January 6, it encountered the same bad weather again, so it had to head for the NW coast of Crete. Finally, the ship anchored in Gramvousa, however the starboard anchor chain was cut. The ship was wrecked, but luckily all on board were saved.
4. Shipwreck “Heraklion
It is a shipwreck that marked Crete. The ship was to set sail at 7 in the evening of December 7, 1966 from the port of Souda to Piraeus. A truck weighing 25 tons would enter the ship, as it did, without, however, observing the prescribed safety rules. Then one of the biggest maritime tragedies in the Greek seas happened. At 2 a.m. near Falconera islet, the truck broke through one of the ship’s hatches, causing rapids to enter and the ship to sink 800 meters. Only 40 people were saved from this wreck.
5. Shipwreck “Minnewaska” in Marathi Crete
Ship used by the British army to transport troops in the First World War. On November 29, 1916, while leaving Souda, it was hit by a shell from a German submarine, causing an explosion, resulting in its steady sinking. All on board survived, and the captain eventually steered it ashore, only to run aground on the beach at Marathi. It has been classified as a monument and is suitable for diving.
6. Shipwreck “Mytilini” in Kassandra, Halkidiki
A German ship that sank in 1961, while making the route Thessaloniki – Mytilini, transporting consumer goods, such as oil and wine. The ship sank after hitting a reef after a heavy storm. Remarkably, the bottles of wine it carried are still intact today. The shipwreck is 20 meters deep, it is home to wrasse, mullet and herring, and is decorated with shells and corals. It is a monument and can be visited for diving.
7. Shipwreck “Nordland” in Kythera
This is a Russian cargo ship that ran aground in August 2000 on the rocky island of Dragonares, opposite the coastal village of Diakofti, in the port of Kythera. The cause of the collision was that the crew had drunk a little too much, so that his engine room flooded and it was half-submerged with the stern at a depth of 30 meters.
8. Shipwreck “Olympia” in Amorgos
In 1979 a commercial ship named “Olympia” was abandoned in Katapola, Amorgos. It was a pirate ship, according to tradition, heading from Cyprus to Greece. However, after an unsuccessful attempt to move away from the bay, it was neglected there and is now a popular destination on the island.
9. Shipwreck “Panagiotis” in Zakynthos
This is a mafia ship, which today is half-submerged in the sand of Zakynthos, on the beach “Navagio”, on a globally recognized beach, famous for the beauty of its natural landscape. The ship was spotted by the Coast Guard off Zakynthos transporting contraband cigarettes serving the Italian mafia. In his attempt to escape and due to bad weather conditions, it ran aground on the northwestern side of Zakynthos. The crew abandoned the ship on October 1, 1980, but was captured a few days later. In fact, it is remarkable that the locals profited from the smuggled cigarettes found on the ship, so that for the next four years, no legal tobacco products were sold on the island.
10. Shipwreck “PIONEER I” in Lihadonisia
This is a rare shipwreck, as this and another one of the same type have been discovered worldwide. Specifically, sunken is a concrete ship, which is an innovative technology of the German army in World War II. When it was bombed in the War, it was loaded with war material intended to supply the occupied islands and supply the Africa Corps. It has been classified as a monument and is suitable for diving.
Mysterious atmosphere, trade, smuggling, piracy, stories stained with blood and rusty remnants of history are some words that characterize shipwrecks in the Greek sea. Whether you are a fan of diving tourism, or happen to be in one of the above destinations, plan a visit to the beaches where the above wrecks are located. Surely, the combination of the shipwreck, the captivating landscape and the crystal clear waters of Greece will repay you!
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