Dimitrios shipwreck

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Dimitrios shipwreck on Valtaki beach, near Gythio.

Dimitrios (Greek Δημήτριος) is a Greek shipwreck famous due to its picturesque location on an easily accessible sandy beach near Gythio, Greece.

"Dimitrios" (previously named "Klintholm"), a small, 67 metre freight ship of 965 tons cargo capacity built in 1950, is registered to the Prefecture of Piraeaus, registration no. 2707. The ship belonged to 76.75% to the Molaris Brothers (Greek: Αφοί Μόλαρη) and to 23.25% to the Matsinos Brothers (Greek Αφοί Ματσινού). Dimitrios has been stranded on the beach of Valtaki (Greek Βαλτάκι) in today's Evrotas municipality in the prefecture of Laconia, Greece, since December 23, 1981.

There are many rumors about the ship's origins and how it got stranded on the beach. Most relate that the ship was used to smuggle cigarettes between Turkey and Italy. It was seized by the port authorities of Gythio and then deliberately released from the port and left to be dragged by the sea to the beach of Valtaki, about 5 kilometers from the port of Gythio. It was then set on fire to hide the evidence of cigarette smuggling. Another less common rumor speaks of a ghost ship of unknown origins.

However, according to a book written by the Honorary Chief of the Hellenic Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Christos Ntounis (1935–2010). Ta Navagia stis Ellinikes thalasses (translated as The shipwrecks of the Greek seas) there is more to be said about the true history of the ship.

History of the shipwreck[edit]

Christos Ntounis in his book Ta Navagia stis Ellinikes thalasses (Volume B 1950-2000) writes that the ship emergency docked to the port of Gythio on 4 December 1980 because its captain needed access to a hospital due to a serious illness. However, after the ship's docking, financial problems arose with the crew as well as various engine problems, coupled with insurance measures imposed by various lenders. The crew was then fired and the ship's safeguarding was assigned to Georgios Daniil and Vasilis Parigoris.

The ship was side docked to the port of Gythio, where it remained until June 1981 when it was declared unsafe due to wear on the docking ropes and an incline to the right because of water entering its hull.

The port authorities asked for the ship to be moved to an anchoring site outside the port of Gythio for safety reasons, but the owners did not respond until the following November. It is stated in the book that "on approximately 12:30 pm on the 9th of November 1981 the ship was swept away to the sea, about 2 miles away due to severe weather conditions and it was temporary anchored". But the temporary anchorage did not last for long as the ship was swept away again and finally stranded at its current location on the beach of Valtaki, about 3 miles northeast of Gythio. The ship was then simply abandoned there and no attempts were made to recover it.

References[edit]

  • http://www.pireas2day.gr
  • Αντιναυάρχου ΝΤΟΥΝΗ "ΤΑ ΝΑΥΑΓΙΑ ΣΤΙΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΕΣ ΘΑΛΑΣΣΕΣ" 1951–2000 ΤΟΜΟΣ B έκδοση 2001 ISBN 960-86590-6-X FINATEC Α.Ε
  • (Vice Admiral Ntounis "The shipwrecks on the Greek Seas" 1951 - 2000 Volume B

published 2001) Coordinates: 36°47′20.38″N 22°35′9.04″E / 36.7889944°N 22.5858444°E / 36.7889944; 22.5858444