The freighter ship Raptor, sailing under Comoro islands flag and managed by a Lebanon-based company, sank off the Greek island of Lesvos in the Eastern Aegean early on Sunday.
The ship was carrying salt from Egypt to Istanbul, Turkey. According to the shipowner company, its 14-member crew consists of one Indian national, eleven Egyptian and two Syrian nationals.
One sailor was rescued by a Hellenic Navy helicopter by noon local time and was taken to the local hospital of Mytilini to receive care. A search operation by air and sea is ongoing for another missing 12 crew members of Raptor after the body of one dead was retrieved in the afternoon.
Rescue operation underway for crew of sunken ship
The captain of Raptor notified authorities of a mechanical failure at around 7 a.m. on Sunday. At 8.20 a.m., he said the ship was listing and activated the “mayday, mayday” emergency call to nearby ships. The ship then disappeared from radars.
Early assessments said the ship met with a rough sea in the Aegean, where northwesterly winds were registering 8 on the Beaufort scale, and may have started taking in water, which would have contributed to its listing and subsequent sinking, AMNA reports.
Assisting the search and rescue in the area are 5 nearby freighters, 3 port authority boats, and the helicopter, while a Hellenic Navy frigate is also assisting the operation.
Commercial boats docked during stormy weather
Several boats across Greece cancelled their sailings this weekend due to gale-force winds at sea, part of the severe weather phenomenon that is affecting the country since Friday evening with high winds, rain, and snow further north.
Wind speed was expected to rise up to 9 and locally to 10 on the Beaufort scale, an emergency weather warning said on Saturday.
The severe weather, which triggered the activation of the 112 emergency service alert notification in several regions across Greece, was expected to last until at least until midday on Sunday.
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The ferries ‘Venizelos’ to Chania and ‘Kriti 2’ to Iraklio on Crete did not sail from Piraeus on Saturday, and the shorter runs between Piraeus and the islands of the Argosaronic Gulf were carried out only on closed-type boats. Rafina and Lavrio schedules, off the eastern coast of Attica, were cancelled.
Also cancelled on Saturday were the lines Agia Marina-Nea Stira, Kavala-Prinos, Rio-Antirrio, and Killini-Zakynthos schedules.
Passengers were advised to contact port authorities and travel agencies for the latest schedule information.