All seven seafarers have been saved from an Italian cargo ship that began taking on water off Greece as it headed for repairs.

The seven Bulgarian crew members were taken ashore by a Hellenic Coast Guard helicopter from the 2,900-dwt Quaterdecies (built 1989) 90 nautical miles off Pylos on Thursday.

The Panama-flag ship had issued a distress call in the early hours as it suffered water ingress for reasons not yet known, the Coast Guard said.

The vessel was carrying a cement cargo and had left Nemrut in Turkey on 4 July bound for Reggio in Italy.

Two merchant ships diverted to the area, including a container vessel and a Grimaldi ferry, after Piraeus rescue authorities were alerted, reported.

An evacuation of the vessel was ordered and the seven seafarers transferred to a life boat launched by the Grimaldi ship, before being airlifted to Kalamata.

No injuries were reported. The crew is now lodged in a hotel and were reported to be in good health.

The ship had been heading to Italy for repairs at the time.

The last AIS update from 7 July showed the Quaterdecies as not under command.

Manager Easy Shipping of Italy had been in talks with a Greek salvage company to tow the ship into port.

List reported

A tug has now reached the vessel, which has a slight list.

The ship, the former Seven Dream, failed three port state control inspections in 2020 and 2021.

This happened before Easy Shipping took over in October however.

In 2021 alone, the vessel underwent two more detailed checks in Italy.

The second of these in Augusta resulted in a stay of 37 days with 34 deficiencies.

Inspectors found unsafe plot ladders and holed and corroded decks.

Other faults included inoperative radio and other life-saving equipment, and a blocked means of escape, as well as damaged accommodation and furnishings.

There were also insufficient and rotting provisions, and inoperative sanitary facilities.