The salvage effort for the grounded ferry Blue Star Patmos is now under way, with tugs on scene attempting to free her from a rocky shoal at Ios’ harbor entrance.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Patmos was arriving at the Greek island of Ios on a voyage from Piraeus, with 205 passengers and 87 crew on board. Local reports suggest that after she made her turn towards the harbor entrance, she struck a shoal at a speed of about 15 knots.
The impact penetrated her hull in way of her starboard ballast tanks and she took on a limited quantity of water, but her owner says the flooding was contained and does not threaten her stability. The cause of the accident has not yet been determined, and the Patmos’ VDR is expected to give more insight into the events leading up to the grounding.
Passenger Angela Tucciarone described a "terrifying" noise at the time of grounding, which was accompanied by violent shaking. "Soon after, the sirens began to sound, and then all, many children and the elderly, began to run panicked to take life jackets," she told Katherimeni.
The Patmos' passengers and half of her crew were safely evacuated by two good samaritan vessels. The balance of the crewmembers remain on board to assist with the salvage, and twenty-one cars and 12 trucks are still in the ship’s bays. No pollution has been reported and a commercial dive team, the Greek Coast Guard and the Patmos' class society have been conducting inspections. Salvors are hoping refloat the vessel as quickly as possible to minimize further hull damage from wave action.
The cause of the accident has not yet been determined, but local mariners told HuffingtonPostGreece that the shoal is a well-known hazard. The vessel's VDR is expected to give more insight into the events leading up to the accident.