A 39-year-old cargo ship underway in the Aegean was lost amid heavy seas on Sunday and all but one of its 14 seafarers are dead or missing.
Greek coastguards said that the Comoros-flagged ship was sailing about 4.5 nautical miles (8 km) southwest of the island of Lesvos when its master asked for emergency assistance after a mechanical failure.
The only vessel fitting that description, according to ship tracking data, is the 6,300-dwt Raptor (built 1984). Turkish sources citing AIS data are claiming the ship is trading as Rovana instead.
The vessel, which is registered to a one-ship company based in Alexandria, Egypt, was laden with a cargo of salt as gales raged in the region reaching 8 on the Beaufort scale.
Five cargo ships have rushed to the area to look for survivors, assisted by three Greek navy boats, a frigate and two helicopters.
At about noon, a helicopter managed to recover one survivor who was battling with the waves. Later in the day, another seafarer was retrieved dead. The Raptor’s remaining crew of 12 are missing. The ship’s crew consisted of eight Egyptians, four Indians and two Syrians.
Commercial vessels sailing nearby include Lauritzen Bulkers’ 37,700-dwt Indian Bulker (built 2017), as well as the 27,200-dwt Aya (built 1997).
The Raptor, which was underway from El Dekheila, Egypt, towards Istanbul, is not registered with any known protection and indemnity club. Turkish authorities say its ultimate destination would be Chornomorsk in Ukraine.
This is the second commercial ship to have sank this week after its engine failed in heavy seas in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. As TradeWinds reported, the 3,100-dwt Kafkametler (built 1992) was lost off Turkey’s port of Eregli on 19 November, dragging down at least five seafarers with it, whose dead bodies have been discovered.
None of the remaining seven Turkish crew members has been located since.
The same storm that wrecked the Kafkametler also smashed the 55-year-old, 3,180-dwt general cargo ship Pallada (built 1968) on the Eregli shore, breaking its hull in two.
All 13 seafarers on board the Cameroon-flagged ship had been evacuated.