By Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Dec. 24 (Xinhuanet)-- The 12-member crew of a freighter was rescued amid rough seas in Greece this weekend.
Greek Coast Guard released footage from the dramatic operation which lasted several hours. Panama - flagged “Little Seyma” had sailed from Russia and was en route to Cyprus loaded with 2,700 tons of flour.
She ran aground a rocky islet off Mykonos island in the “heart” of the Aegean Sea on Friday evening.
Winds up to 9 on the Beaufort scale were blowing in the area when she issued a distress call, according to the Greek authorities.
The ship suffered water ingress in the engine room. Using the freighter’s rescue boat the seamen sought shelter in a rocky cave on the Tragonissi (goat) islet.
Despite the prompt mobilization of Greek emergency services, and due to the adverse weather conditions, the nine Ukrainians and three others could not be evacuated until Saturday afternoon.
The gale force winds did not allow two Greek Air Force and Greek Navy helicopters or Coast Guard and Greek Navy vessels to collect the men for many hours.
The mariners were eventually transferred safely to Mykonos port with a fishing boat, with the Coast Guard’s guidance, according to a press release.
They were all in good health after their adventure, local authorities said.