Aging Freighter Runs Aground and Breaks Up Off Crete
On Tuesday, the freighter Manassa Rose M was caught in a storm off Crete and ran aground while attempting to anchor.
During a voyage from Iskenderun, Turkey to Misrata, Libya, the Manassa Rose was hit by winter storm Elpis, which has been disrupting commerce throughout Greece and Turkey. The vessel attempted to anchor off Drapanias, Crete, according to local media, but went aground on a shoal in Kissamos Bay. Battered by waves of up to 15 feet in height, she broke in two.
Eight members of her crew abandoned ship into a life raft, and two others went over the side into the water, according to local media. All were safely rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard and by local volunteer rescue crews. The survivors were taken to nearby medical centers for treatment, including two who were suffering from severe hypothermia.
"There is no pollution at the moment, but there could be a leak at any time," said Kissamos Deputy Mayor Sypros Mavrodimitrakis in a statement. "We are trying to take precautions as best we can."
However, the local chamber of commerce suggested that there were signs that the vessel may have released some amount of petroleum.
From the testimonies of businessmen in the area . . . there is a strong smell of oil on Drapania beach and there were fears that it may be a result of the accident and the leakage of fuel into the sea. We therefore appeal to the competent authorities of the state to make an urgent assessment of the situation," said the president of the Chamber of Chania, Antonis Rokakis, in a statement Tuesday. "The next 24 hours are particularly critical to prevent possible pollution from leaking fuel to the ship for maritime safety and the already strained ecosystem of Kissamos Bay. In addition, any negative development would have incalculable catastrophic consequences for the already severely affected tourist and business community of Western Crete."
The Hellenic Coast Guard is investigating the circumstances of the grounding.
The Manassa Rose M is a 1982-built freighter, one of a fleet of six aging vessels operated by an Egyptian shipmanager. She is owned by a Lebanese company and flagged in Comoros, which ranks fourth from the bottom of the Paris MOU Black List. PSC officials have flagged deficiencies aboard the Manassa Rose at every port state inspection she has undergone since 2006, according to her Equasis record.