Mar 14, 2023

Situated in one of the Ionian Seas most popular islands sits Zakynthos. The main attraction of the island is Navagio beach. Also known as Shipwreck cove, this part of the island is a must. Before you set sail for this iconic cove, we have put together a brief history on how the beach got its name and how that famous rusty shell of a boat made its way to the sand shores of Shipwreck Cove.

The history of Shipwreck beach

There are several theories about the MV Panayiotis shipwreck at Smugglers Cove, but most agree that it was involved in smuggling activities. Some sources claim the incident occurred in 1981, 1982, or 1983.

One theory suggests that the ship was transporting contraband goods, including cigarettes, wine, and even people, before being chased by authorities and running aground in the cove. Another theory proposes that the ship lost engine power while smuggling cigarettes, alcohol, and women, and washed ashore in the bay.

A third theory suggests that the owner of the ship, Haris Kompotheklas, transported smuggled cigarettes from Yugoslavia and Albania to Italy and was forced to take on two Italian smugglers. The captain allegedly arrested and imprisoned the Italians to keep the smuggled goods for himself, but the ship was grounded in the bay due to bad weather, and part of the cargo was lost to the waves.

Villagers allegedly retrieved some of the goods and hid them, but the authorities eventually arrested the captain and his crew and auctioned off the cargo.

Captain Charalambos Kompothekras-Kotsoros, who was at the helm of the ship when it ran aground, shared his version of events. He stated that the MV Panayiotis left the port of Argostoli, Cephalonia, for Durrës, Albania on September 6, 1980.

On the return journey, bad weather and mechanical failure caused the ship to wash ashore at St. George Beach near Volimes on October 2, 1980. The captain reported the accident to the authorities, but the remote location made it difficult to protect the ship from theft and other dangers.

Part of the cargo and some equipment were stolen, and the captain reported the theft to the authorities. The General Prosecutor of the area organized an investigation with the local police, and all stolen items, as well as the stolen cargo, were eventually recovered.

A total of 29 people were prosecuted and jailed after the trials were completed. After being cleared of all accusations, the captain was forced by the authorities to remove the ship from the beach, but he was so impressed by the rusting wreck's beauty that he decided to leave it as it was.

Navagio Beach Today

Today, Navagio Beach has become one of Greece's most popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from around the world who come to see the iconic navagio shipwreck.

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