Varvassi was a 3,875-ton Greek merchant steamship that was wrecked on the Needles rocks in 1947. It was carrying a cargo of tangerines from Algiers to Southampton. The ship became wrecked after an engine failure in stormy weather, and drifted onto the rocks. When an attempt was made to haul the ship off the rocks, she flooded and sank. All 36 crew were rescued unharmed, as was the cargo of tangerines.
There are still remains of the wreck lying just below the surface. Some parts of the wreck can still be seen at very low tides. The wreck constitutes a hazard to small craft that attempt to sail too close to the lighthouse.
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