Beakdown of the Konstantinos
On Tuesday, January 21, 2003, the Cypriot bulk carrier Konstantinos, 140 m long, leaves the port of Bayonne for Ireland.
The vessel went to Bayonne to unload exotic timber from western Africa. Just after the vessel was docked, some clandestine people were arrested by French police on board...
The bulker is slowly gliding along the river Adour. On board, the pilot Bertrand Moutard oversees routine operations. The ship has almost reached the mouth of Adour River when it is the engine breakdown. The weather begins to change and with the tide, the ship is drifting dangerously toward the jetty. The tug Aturri launched at her rescue, brakes a tow and is forced to turn back. Pierre Trocq and Jean-Pierre Darrort (now retired), at the control of the pilot boat, are trying desperately to remove the vessel from the jetty in a rough weather. The bulker touches the embankment of the jetty at about 9 am, causing a water way. As the pilot continues to give his orders via radio, the pilot boat is struggling in every way to kick the vessel out of the dike and finaly succeeds. The Konstantinos begins to drift south-west of the port, towards the rocks, threatening to run aground. The engine starts again in extremis. The propeller sometimes turns out of the sea into the air because the bow is sinking slightly due to water ways. Fortunately the water ways have not touched the fuel tanks. A helicopter is flying over the ship ready to evacuate the crew. The sea is rough with waves up to 10 m to three miles offshore. At the end of the morning, the pilot George Strullu joins his colleague on the bulk carrier which is now going south. On board, the crew is panicked. The pilots explain that the situation is now stabilized, there is no pollution and the list is not too important. In the evening, The Konstantinos reaches the anchorage of the port of Pasajes but the Spanish port refuses access. Besides, the captain refuses the aid of a tow because the shipping company of the Konstantinos does not want to pay. The assistance is free, but the company doesn't want to know ... The ship continued south, refuses a second tow and finaly in the morning, arrives in the port of Bilbao to be repaired.
Following these events, the captain of the bulk carrier Konstantinos committed suicide and the Konstantinos continued is career under a new name, but inscribed on the black list of ships banned from EU ports. The vessel has been broken up in June 2009, under the name Alexandra T.