Greek Freighter [30M] – Detail in Dive Dorset: 200 p149/150: GPS; 50 30.55N; 02 08.33W & Clarke: GPS;50 30.57N; 02 08.42W. (Also in LARN) – Collided with M. V. ANNA KNUPPEL on 03/11/1979. Was taken in tow by French tug ABEILLE LANGUEDOC for Portland Harbour but sank off St Alban’s Head. Very popular at the time for local divers. Most famous for the loss of Seychelles 100 rupee banknotes which went missing. The issue of these notes was subsequently cancelled.
Note by Kendall MacDonald:
She was just a year old, and big with it. Her hull and machinery was valued at over £3 million. That figure didn’t include the cargo with which her holds were stuffed, or the many containers and dozens of Land Rovers on deck. That deck cargo made the 10,715 ton Greek motor vessel AEOLIAN SKY look even bigger, as she headed down the Channel from London for Dar-es-Salaam.
Despite foul weather, the 148m-long ship made good progress until, on 3 November, 1979, she collided with another motor vessel, the West German ANNA KNUPPEL.
The Greek came off worst, badly holed in No 1 hold and flooding so heavily that her bow was almost under water. Her crew were all taken off by helicopters, before a French tug got her in tow and headed for Portland Harbour. Early the next day, the Sky sank amid gale-force winds and huge seas 12 miles off Portland Bill.
Poisonous chemicals in drums were soon being washed ashore along the coast of the Isle of Wight, and a major danger alert was put into operation. The cargo was listed as hundreds of containers of such chemicals plus paint and thinners, liquid chlorine, butane aerosols, Bostik cleaner, ammonia, glass, barbed wire and, of course, Land Rovers.
She was also said to be carrying more than a million pounds in Seychelles rupee bank notes in her sickbay (for want of anywhere else to put them). Most of these are still missing
Day of Loss: 4
Month of Loss: 11
Year of Loss: 1979
Longitude: 50 30.55
Latitude: 02 08.33
Approximate Depth: 30