Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach or Smugglers’ Cove, hosts one of the most populat tourist attractions and famous Instagram spots on the Greek island of Zakynthos. Known for its splendid rock formations and pristine beaches, the island is also known for another, less natural beauty: the wreck of the Panagiotis ship.
Panagiotis stranded on the beach in 1980. The fact that at that time the captain and crew were accused of smuggling only added to the ship’s attraction, even though they were later cleared of any accusations. Over the years, the beach with its uncommon decaying shipwreck has become a center for tourist activity. Tours are being organised just to get a look at what’s left, people flock together to take pictures next to the ship.
However, the shipwreck has suffered many damages over the last ten years and recent bad weather has made things even worse. Locals and authorities are therefore fearing the famous shipwreck might entirely wash away within the foreseeable future and actions are underway to protect the tourist spot and thereby save an important part of Zakynthos’ income.
“It’s time for the municipality to manage this particular spot. The ship is disappearing; it’s the last chance to save what’s left. A person responsible for the boat must be found, because at the moment there is no one. If something happens, no one will be charged for the damage we will suffer not only here in Zakynthos, but throughout the country. At least 1.5 million tourists come in the summer to see the shipwreck. Consider that they may not come because there will be no ship for them to see”, mayor of Zakynthos, Giorgos Stasinopoulos, stated to local media outlets.
For the moment, Stasinopoulos is talking about closing the beach this summer, while still allowing boats to navigate and allow people to take pictures from afar. According to him, any work should – if possible – wait until the summer is over in order not to disturb tourist activities. He is urging the Greek Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Economy and Finance to step in. The municipality of Zakynthos wants to take over the management of the shipwreck and the restoration of damage. Because of the different actors at play in the matter, however, the process of intervening might be long.
This is not the first time the shipwreck has gained media attention. Over the years, the beach has been closed several times due to the danger caused by earthquakes and, in 2018, at least seven people got injured after a rock fell down on the beach.