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Greek island’s most photographed location at risk of being washed away

Written by World News

A Greek island’s most visited and photographed tourist spot is at risk of being destroyed.

On Zakynthos’ coastline is Navagio Beach, home to a 43-year-old shipwreck that is frequently visited by tour companies on day excursions.

The sandy beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach and Smugglers’ Cove, is famous for the rusting hulk of MV Panagiotis, which ran aground in 1980.

It is rumoured that it was a smuggling ship on its way to Turkey with contraband cigarettes when it was spotted by the Greek Navy.

In a chase towards the Ionian islands, the MV Panagiotis was swept towards Zakynthos and ran aground where it still sits. The crew escaped the Navy and locals raided the cargo.

However, some locals have different stories about the wreck and some even believe it was deliberately placed in the cove by the Ministry of Tourism as a way of bringing tourists to the island, though this has been denied.

Those wanting to visit can drive to the north of the island and look down on it from the cliff or by taking a boat trip to the beach to see it up close.

But now there are fears about the wreck’s permanency. Recent bad weather caused pieces of the ship to break off, although it has been deteriorating for years.

This is not the first time the ship has been at risk. In 2018, the beach was closed and swimming and boat anchoring were forbidden after a section of cliff collapsed.

And in 2022, another landslide was prompted by an earthquake between Zakynthos and Kefalonia. Access to the beach was prohibited and has remained so other than for boats approaching from the water.

Locals and tourism companies are urging authorities to intervene and save the vessel due to its importance for the island’s income.

Zakynthos mayor Giorgos Stasinopoulos and MP Dionysis Aktypis are now calling on Greece’s Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Economy and Finance to take action to protect the site.

The municipality of Zakynthos wants to take over the management of the shipwreck – such as controlled entry, security, viewing points and zones of access – as well as maintenance and restoration of damage.

 

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