The famous shipwreck washed ashore the Agios Georgios coast in Zakynthos is one of the most photographed sites in Greece.

Panagiotis, the ship heading from Albania to Piraeus, has suffered extensive erosion over the 36-year period it has lain off the Ioanian beach.

Contrary to the residents’ fears that the accident would have significant environmental effects on the site, Navagio has turned into one of Europe’s top tourist destinations.

Mayor Pavlos Kolokotsas in collaboration with experts from the Department of Cultural Heritage at the Zakynthos-based Technical College of the Ionian Islands is documenting the extent of the damage. The team identify the materials the ship consists of, and then deliberate on improving the wreck’s stability before its restoration, which is set to finish before the end of the next tourism season.

“We can’t allow the shipwreck to be destroyed. It’s a symbol of Greece, recognised worldwide,” head of the municipality’s Tourism Committee, Antonis Nikoloudakis, told Kathimerini.

“The area will be fenced off with a barrier … but will be discreet enough so as not to upset its aesthetic appeal for those who want to be photographed beside it. We will also place a sign with the wreck history, as well as assigning a lifeguard and a guard at the beach so we can bring some order to the situation.”