The 40-metre vessel “Malpas” sank in waters at least 1,000 metres deep off the southern coast of Crete on Saturday, after a coast guard vessel ordered that it be boarded for inspection. Earlier, an open-seas coast guard patrol boat had approached the ship, which was considered to be carrying suspect cargo, and ordered that it head to the nearest shore so that inspectors might come on board.
According to the shipping ministry, the ship had been ordered to shore for the inspection due to the bad weather conditions prevailing at that time. The ship was initially sailing normally but soon after developed a list and very quickly sank into the water.
The crew of five Syrian nationals on board fell into the water and were rescued by the coast guard boat and men of the Underwater Missions Unit. All five were reported to be in good health and will be taken to Ierapetra, Crete for interrogation.