Turkish merchant vessel collided with Hellenic Navy gunboat ‘Armatolos’ in Aegean

The Hellenic Navy General Staff on Friday announced that the Turkish-flagged merchant ship “Karmate” approached and collided with the Hellenic Navy gunboat “Armatolos” in the sea southeast of Mytilene in the early hours of Friday morning.

According to the announcement, there were no injuries or serious damage and no pollution of the marine environment as a result. Noting that the Turkish ship had been in violation of navigation rules for avoiding collisions at sea, it added that the Greek side will take all the necessary steps for the imposition of penal and civil sanctions on the basis of international maritime law.

After striking the Greek gunboat, the “Karmate” increased speed and sailed toward the nearest Turkish shore, ignoring attempts by the “Armatolos” to hail it on the radio.

National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has informed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias about the incident, as well as main opposition New Democracy.

Coast guard authorities and NATO authorities have also been alerted to the incident, which took place during a planned patrol by the “Armatolos” during the NATO operation “Aegean Activity” to combat migration flows in the Aegean.