Greece: Crew members missing after cargo ship caps to Lesbos

A cargo ship sank on Sunday 26 November off the coast of Lesbos, as Greece faces a wave of strong winds linked to Storm Oliver. Fourteen crew members were on board the 106-metre-long cargo ship when it sank in the Aegean Sea. So far, one person has been found drowned while another has been rescued and transported to the hospital in Mytilene, on the island.

Paramedics transfer a survivor after his cargo ship sank to a hospital on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. AP - Panagiotis Balaskas

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Athens, Joël Bronner

Due to the passage of Storm Oliver – sometimes also called Bettina – the Greek meteorological service had warned on Saturday of the risk of a "dangerous weather phenomenon" over the weekend. Faced with winds of up to 9 or 10 on the Beaufort scale, many boats remained docked across Greece on Sunday.

This is not the case, however, for the Raptor freighter, which was confronted with mechanical damage in the early hours of the morning. An incident that prompted him to emit a distress signal, before disappearing from radar screens. Due to strong waves, seawater apparently infiltrated the boat on a massive scale, to the point of overloading it and causing it to sink.

Departing from northern Egypt, the cargo ship, which flew the flag of the Comoros, was carrying a cargo of salt and was en route to Turkey. At the time of the shipwreck, not far from the Greek island of Lesbos, eleven Egyptians, two Syrians and one Indian were on board. During the day, a rescue operation carried out by Greece in difficult weather conditions involved eight boats, three coast guard vessels, a frigate and two helicopters.

Read alsoGreece: 24 humanitarian workers in court for a highly political trial

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