A shipwreck on the Greek island of Lefkada in the Ionian Sea has become a poignant monument to the human tragedy of migration.
The wreck of an old rusty trawler that locals believe had sailed from Tunisia, lies abandoned on Gaidaros Beach in Kalamitsi.
Although it is unclear how the trawler ended up on the beach on December 10, 2021, the Coast Guard assumes it washed up in the midst of bad weather. It had most likely carried migrants from North Africa and Tunisia to Italy, it says.
It is now perhaps the most photographed shipwreck in the world. Lying upright on a sandy beach on the northwestern coast of Zakynthos since October of 1980, the wreck of the “Panagiotis” is visited by millions of tourists.
Despite the worry that the wreck would be a blot on the otherwise pristine beach, picturesque “Shipwreck Beach” has now become the very symbol of Zakynthos.
It has been rumored that the ship was smuggling contraband, including cigarettes and alcohol, when it ran aground, on what was originally known as “Agios Georgios Beach,” during stormy weather and low visibility.
The ship was immediately abandoned by its crew, and some of them, mostly Greek sailors, were arrested, along with their captain. However, they were all later cleared of the smuggling charges.