The Captayannis was launched in 1946 as the MV Norden, she was later sold to new owners and re-named Captayannis. Built by Nakskov Skibs A.S. Denmark she was a steel cargo motor vessel of 2620nt with dimensions of 396.7′ x 56.3′ x 25.0’.
January 1974 saw the Captayannis arriving in the Clyde with a cargo of sugar from Lourenco Marques in Portuguese East Africa. She dropped anchor off the Tail of the Bank prior to offloading her cargo in Greenock. On Monday 28th January, a severe gale hit the west coast of Scotland, whipping up the sea in the normally calm anchorage with winds in excess of 60mph. In this severe weather the Captayannis began to drag her anchor, prompting Captain Theodorakis Ionnis to order the engines started to head towards the Gareloch for shelter. However, before he could get sufficient power to get under way, the Captayannis was blown across the anchor chain of the 36,754 ton BP tanker British Light which had recently arrived off Greenock from Elderslie Dry Dock. The anchor chain ripped a long gaping hole in the port side of the Captayannis. The pumps could not cope with the torrents of water which quickly flooded the lower levels of the ship and she soon began to list substantially to port. Shortly afterwards she was plunged into darkness as the inrush of water caused a total power failure.
As a number of small boats arrived on the scene to render assistance, the Captayannis grounded on a sandbank in the middle of the river directly between Greenock and Helensburgh. The crew of twenty five, including the captain, were taken off without injury.
The Wreck Today
The Captayannis subsequently became the centre of a major insurance wrangle between the parties involved. As a result, salvage was not attempted despite the fact that she is lying with a substantial portion of her bulk above sea level in fairly shallow water.
She lies on her port side with her starboard side rising like a small island some three or four metres above sea level in position 55° 58.566’N, 004° 44.516’ W. The wreck is substantially intact with superstructure and most large deck fittings still in place. She lies in 8 to 9 metres of murky water on a muddy seabed.