Malta to Greece: Collision at night on the Ionian Sea

A cruising yacht was struck and dismasted by an unlit boat at night off the coast of Greece.

Published 6 years ago, updated 4 years ago

This information was passed on to noonsite by fellow cruisers from SY Amante, who on spotting the dismasted yacht in port talked with the couple who were hit. Whilst they were still a bit shaken they asked SY Amante to share this story and warn other yachts of the danger in the area.

Below is the e-mail sent to us by SY Amante:

Docked along the waterfront in Argostoli, Cephalonia, where tourists gather to watch turtles surface or to buy fresh fish from the local fisherman, sits a lovely sailing yacht, the romantic home at sea for “living the dream”. Upon closer inspection, this sailing yacht is missing fundamental pieces of equipment, namely the mast, boom and sails.

The sailing yacht Columbo, a Bavaria 50 was hit underway at night by an unlit boat 80 miles from Cephalonia on a direct line from Malta. The unlit boat appeared to have many people below decks. No one was above decks on the unlit boat. The boat remained unlit and hurried away as the couple struggled frantically to cut away their rig. The collision dismasted the sailboat and the attached mast threatened to hold the boat.  The collision itself split the boat vertically from the starboard midships toe rail to a porthole beneath it.

After watching their mast, boom, all their sails and rigging sink to the bottom of the sea, and patching the hole to not take on seawater, the couple made their way under power to Argostoli harbour in Cephalonia.

They asked me to help share their story to make others aware of the dangers of this patch of sea, as it still seems to be in use for stealth human transport. The couple is willing to share any information that may help others avoid such a tragedy. Many lives in two boats could have been lost.

Vanessa on S/Y Amante

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Argostolion (Kephalonia)


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  1. October 25, 2018 at 2:40 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    we have just sailed from Corfu to Gibralter via Messina to Mallorca and we found on 3 nites yachts sailing without ANY for of lights but were in total darkness one had a strobe light in the cockpit area this is dangerous to other navigators