Video footage has emerged of a a captain and his six crew escaping their ship only moments after it crashed at Qawra Point during the major storm that hit Malta on Saturday morning.
Alessio Alestra happened to be close to the Tra’ Fra Ben reggae bar on Saturday morning and managed to film the men abandoning their vessel from his car.
“I’m at Ta’ Fre Ben…unbelievable…there are people coming out…ostja, the weather’s not very well…Oh my God…hopefully the guys are OK,” he can be heard saying.
At one point, a man who appears to be the ship’s Bangladeshi captain Joynal Abedin approaches the car, thinks about entering it but instead closes the door and continues walking. Other crew then emerge from the Hephaestus and follow the captain out of sight.
The ship ran aground off St Paul’s Bay. Photo: TVM
Joynal Abedin said he had never experienced such rough weather conditions as the ones that wrecked his ship in his life.
“As we realised that the wind was picking up, I asked the Maltese authorities for permission to seek shelter closer to shore,” he told The Times of Malta. “I started the engine and began preparing to navigate the vessel inland, but all of a sudden – within minutes – we hit the rocks. Nobody can fight Mother Nature, and we thank God we are safe. I have never experienced anything similar, not even when navigating much rougher seas.”
Abedin is recovering from a shoulder injury in hospital, while the crew are currently residing at the seafarers’ centre in Valletta. Port chaplain Fr Joe Borg has urged the public to donate food, clothes and other basic necessities to the men, who escaped the ship with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Meanwhile, an operation by Cassar Ship Repair is ongoing to remove the ship from the rocks and tow it back into the sea. Precautions are being taken not to damage the ship further or cause any environmental damage.