Tragic Shipwreck of Spercheios Unveiled: Remnants Found in Greek Waters

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In a poignant discovery, the wreckage of the Spercheios, one of the most tragic shipwrecks in Greek maritime history, has been located by an underwater research team led by Kostas Thoktaridis.

The vessel, which sank on Holy Wednesday in May 1945, claimed the lives of 98 individuals and has remained a haunting reminder of a maritime disaster that shook Greece.

Thoktaridis, in a statement to ANA-MPA, revealed the findings of the research team, noting significant details such as the presence of a 20mm gun base on the bow, the absence of the left anchor chain, and the detection of a small vertical fissure on the left side of the wreck. Debris scattered across the deck and distortions in the superstructures hint at the tragic events that unfolded on that fateful day.

The ill-fated journey began on May 2, 1945, when the Spercheios departed from Piraeus bound for the Aegean islands of Syros, Samos, Chios, and Lesvos. Overcrowded with 75 passengers and laden with luggage stacked on the stern deck, the vessel faced challenges from the outset. However, despite the overcapacity and the vessel's tilt to the left, attributed to the stacked luggage, the weather was initially favourable as the ship navigated the calm seas.

As darkness descended and rain began to fall, passengers, against crew advice, congregated on the left side of the vessel, seeking shelter from the elements. With the captain absent and the helmsman steering dangerously close to a sea minefield, the ship's fate took a tragic turn. An abrupt manoeuver to avoid the minefield led to a loss of stability, causing the Spercheios to capsize, plunging many passengers into the treacherous waters.

The ensuing rescue efforts were fraught with challenges. Only a few survivors, including Syros Port Authority Captain Dalianis, were rescued after hours of struggle. The motorised vessel Agios Spyridon played a crucial role in rescuing 37 survivors and transporting them to safety.

Despite search efforts by the Greek Navy, the majority of those aboard the Spercheios perished. Families were left shattered by the loss of loved ones, with victims including Mari Ladopoulou and her son Elpidoforos, Maria Neophytou, Dimitrios Ladopoulos and his family, Navy Captain Ioannis Vlachopoulos and his family, among others.

Investigations into the disaster revealed the presence of 136 individuals aboard the Spercheios, exceeding its capacity. The subsequent trial saw the ship's captain sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for three years, while other defendants were acquitted.

(Source: Thema News)

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