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Greek Ship That Disappeared 63 Years Ago Found on Aegean Seabed

The bow of the ship that sank 63 years ago off the island of Makronissos. Credit: Facebook/Kostas Thoctarides

A Greek ship that disappeared without sending an SOS in 1959 was discovered at the bottom of the Aegean Sea off Makronissos island recently.

The “Three Hierarchs,” which sank on February 14, 1959, was discovered at a depth of 87.2 meters northwest of Makronissos by the research team of Greek diver Kostas Thoctarides.

The ship had sailed from Piraeus the prior day at 5:10 p.m. carrying 378 tons of corn—most of which was destined for the port of Thessaloniki. The ship was also due to dock at Porto Lagos in Xanthi where it would deliver the rest of the corn and three military vehicles.

The ship sank due to adverse weather conditions with approaching 8 Beaufort.

The crew of the Greek ship was presumed to have drowned

All nine members of the crew were presumed to have drowned. The ship must have sunk very rapidly, as it failed to transmit an SOS message.

Parts of the boat were recovered in the days following the sinking, but until recently, the exact position of the wreckage was a mystery.

Thoctarides revealed that his team found the steering wheel of the ship turned all the way to the left while the three military trucks were found scattered on the seabed near the wreck.

The ship was a former Hellenic Navy vessel with a length of 43 meters (141 feet) and a width of 7.6 meters (25 feet).

Greek ship
A drawing of the wreck and the corresponding finds. Credit: Facebook/Kostas Thoctarides

Only a small portion of shipwrecks discovered in Greece

In November 2021, the research team of Thoctarides discovered the wreckage of an Italian WWII submarine off Mykonos.

The “Jantina,” one of the torpedoes of the British submarine HMS Torbay which sank on July 5, 1942, lay at the bottom of the Aegean; its exact location remained unknown for 80 years.

Thoctarides, a naval history enthusiast and author, has discovered four modern shipwrecks near Mykonos, Skiathos, Kefalonia, and the Saronic Gulf. He says that only a portion of shipwrecks has been identified in the Greek seas.

“My estimate is that a quarter has been identified in total,” he said, based on his shipwreck record after years of study. “Greece is a country with a very important naval history. There is historical wealth in every region,” he added.

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