The Panagiotis (Greek: Παναγιώτης) is a picturesque shipwreck lying in the white sands of an exposed cove on the coast of Zakynthos (Zante), which is among the southernmost of the Ionian Islands of Greece. Navagio ("Shipwreck"), the spot where she lies, is a popular tourist attraction on the north-western side of the island, with thousands of visitors each year.
She was built in Scotland in 1937 as Saint Bedan and wrecked in 1980, probably[weasel words] while carrying contraband cigarettes and being chased by the Greek Navy.
The coaster Panagiotis was built in 1937 at Bowling on the River Clyde as Yard 341 by Scott & Sons, and fitted with a 500 bhp diesel engine made by British Auxiliaries Ltd. When built, she measured 163 feet in length and 26 feet in width. She had a draft of just over 11 feet, and a gross register tonnage of 452.
The Panagiotis changed hands and names since her construction.
- 1937 - Originally named the MV Saint Bedan, she was launched on Thursday, 14 January 1937 for J. & A. Gardner and Co. Ltd. of Glasgow.
- 1964 - She was sold to Greek owners, M. Gigilinis and S. Kakassinas of Thessaloniki and renamed Meropi.
- 1966 - She was sold to N. S. Kalfas and renamed Charis.
- 1975 - She was sold by P. Lisikatos & Company of Piraeus and renamed Panagiotis.
- 1980 - She ran aground on 1 October, on the island of Zakynthos, and was abandoned.
The most commonly accepted story regarding the wreck of the Panagiotis maintains that she spent the later part of her life as a smuggling ship. In 1980 (during a time of record population lows on the island of Zakynthos), Panagiotis was making its way from Turkey with a freight of contraband cigarettes (for the Italian Mafia, as some versions of the story assert).
The crew was suspected by authorities, and so the Panagiotis was pursued by the Greek Navy. Encountering stormy weather, the ship ran aground in a shallow cove on the west coast of Zakynthos, to the north of Porto Vromi, where the crew abandoned her to evade the pursuing Navy.
To this day, the wreck remains at the site which is now called "Navagio", Greek for "shipwreck."
Locals raided the cargo of cigarettes and whisky, and for the following four years no 'official' tobacco products were sold on the island.
There is question about the veracity of the wreck, with VirtualGreece.net stating that some Zakynthos locals believe the Panagiotis to have been placed in the cove by the Greek Ministry of Tourism.
- Clyde-Built Database: Saint Bedan, clydebuiltships.co.uk. URL accessed March 4, 2012.
- VirtualGreece.net: Zanté, Bonington New Media Ltd. URL accessed 4 July 2006.