Cargo Ship Sinks off Greek Island, Leaving 13 Crew Members Missing

A Comoros-flagged cargo ship named Raptor sank off the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos amid winds, triggering a rescue operation. The vessel, laden with 6,000 tons of salt, departed from Dekheila, Egypt, en route to Istanbul.

Cargo Ship Sinks off Greek Island, Leaving 13 Crew Members Missing

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The Greek coastguard reported that the ship had a crew of 14, including eight Egyptians, four Indians, and two Syrians.

The call from the Raptor came early on a Sunday with the ship reporting a mechanical failure at 7 a.m. Despite the crew’s efforts to communicate their plight, the situation escalated.

By 8:20 a.m., the ship’s captain issued a mayday signal, reporting that the vessel was listing. Shortly after this communication, the ship disappeared from radar screens, leaving the 13 crew members uncertain.

The Greek coastguard in collaboration with various maritime and military assets, launched a rescue mission.

A navy helicopter managed to pluck one crew member from the waters, airlifting them to Lesbos General Hospital.

The rescued individual was reported to be in a state of shock, underlining the conditions the crew faced during the sinking.

The rescue operation includes the deployment of five cargo ships, three coast guard vessels, air force and navy helicopters, and a navy frigate.

The weather conditions with wind speeds reaching 9-10 on the Beaufort scale, has difficulties in the search and rescue efforts.

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The Hellenic National Meteorological Service had issued an emergency weather warning, categorizing the situation as dangerous weather phenomena, as Storm Oliver approached the region.

The Raptor, a Comoros-flagged cargo ship with a length of 106 meters, was built in 1984. Loaded with salt, the ship on its journey from Dekheila, Egypt, to Istanbul, facing the Aegean Sea. The crew makeup, consisting of 11 Egyptians, two Syrians, and one Indian.

The sequence of events leading to the sinking began with the ship reporting a mechanical failure, a common occurrence in maritime operations.

The specifics of the malfunction remain undisclosed, questions about the vessel’s maintenance and the challenges faced by aging ships navigating challenging waters.

Subsequent reports indicated that the ship started listing, due to water ingress in the hold caused by strong waves.

The incident occurred against the backdrop of adverse weather conditions, with Storm Oliver also known as Bettina approaching the region.

Wind speeds of 9-10 on the Beaufort scale, indicating strong gale to storm force, led to several ships remaining docked across Greece.

The emergency weather warning issued by the Hellenic National Meteorological Service highlighted the severity of the conditions.

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The sinking of the Raptor adds to a series of maritime incidents and weather events that have impacted Greece in recent months.

Earlier this month, a Greek warship suffered damage from gale-force winds, highlighting the vulnerability of vessels to adverse weather conditions.

The country has also struggled with repeated flooding, with Storm Daniel causing damage to central Greece in September, affecting agricultural areas and livestock.

The maritime incident off Lesbos concerns about the safety of seafarers who navigate unpredictable waters.

The crew of the Raptor, comprising individuals from different nationalities, underlines the global nature of maritime operations and the shared responsibility for ensuring the safety of those at sea.

As the search for the missing crew intensifies, there is a pressing need to evaluate and enhance safety protocols and emergency response measures in the maritime industry.

The efforts involving cargo ships, coast guard vessels, air force and navy assets, and a navy frigate demonstrate the importance of maritime emergencies.

The challenges posed by weather conditions necessitate a coordinated response to maximize the chances of locating and rescuing the missing crew members.

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