A Greek gunboat was nudged by a Turkish cargo vessel early on Friday while on patrol for unauthorized migrant crossings in the Aegean Sea, the Greek navy said.
The gunboat “Armatolos” was on patrol off the island of Lesbos as part of a NATO operation against migrant smuggling when the incident occurred at 4 a.m. local time (0100 GMT).
The Turkish-flagged vessel “approached and touched” the Greek gunboat, the navy said in a statement. It then accelerated towards Turkish shores and did not respond to subsequent radio calls from the Greek gunboat, according to the statement.
The Turkish-flagged Karmate ignored radio calls from Greek the Armatolos after colliding with it
The Greek navy said NATO authorities had been informed, adding that there were no injuries or any serious damage to the ship.
The Greek island of Lesbos, which lies close to Turkey, was on the frontline of a migration influx in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict found sanctuary there. The number of arrivals has since eased considerably.
Turkey’s Transport Ministry on Friday issued announcement concerning the collision.
“We have received information that there is no threat of sinkage, death, casualties or environmental pollution," the ministry statement said.
The Greek navy ordered an investigation into the incident, as initial reports suggested that the Turkish-flagged Karmate ignored radio calls from Greek the Armatolos after colliding with it and then made off for the Turkish coast at speed.