For the second time in less than three months, a Turkish vessel has collided with a Hellenic Navy vessel patrolling the Aegean, before dawn today.
According to an announcement issued by the Hellenic Navy General Staff, the Turkish-flagged merchant vessel “Karmate” was in Greek territorial waters when it “approached and touched” the Greek gunboat “Armatolos”, southeast of the island of Lesvos.
There were no casualties.
The announcement said that the Turkish vessel had violated the International Regulation for Preventing Collisions at Sea, as the “Karmate” was arriving at the location of the Greek gunboat when the collision occurred.
It is unclear if the intention was to ram the Greek gunboat, but the Turkish vessel left for the Turkish shores immediately after the collision, ignoring the calls of the gunboat.
The gunboat was on patrol in the context of the Alliance “Aegean Activity” exercise to handle migrant flows in the Aegean.
Nato was notified of the incident, and Defence Minister Panos Kammenos briefed PM Alexis Tsipras, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, and the main opposition party, the state-run Athens News Agency reported.
The incident came hours after PM Alexis Tsipras visited the islands of Lesvos and Lemnos, where he stressed Greece’s deterrent power in the Aegean.
Greek authorities will examine the possibility of criminal and civil legal action, according to the announcement