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Two cargo vessels collide off Chios island; Turkish cargo rejects Greek SAR (video)

Two cargo vessels collided 9 nautical miles North-North-West of the island of Chios in the eastern Aegean Sea on Friday afternoon. While the Turkish vessel is taking water, its captain has refused aid by the Greek Coast Guard.

The vessels with flags of Vanuatu -ANT- and Singapore – POTENTIA- have a total of 32 crew members on board. there have been no injuries, ANT1 TV reported.

POTENTIA was sailing from Egypt to Ukraine, while ANT had left the port of Izmir in Turkey for France.

Both vessels are empty of cargo load and there is reportedly no sinking danger, media reported citing Coast Guard sources. There has been no request to evacuate the crews, while no explanation has yet been given for the accident.

However, the Turkish Maritime General Secretariat reported that the Turkish-owned vessel was taken water from its hold.

“9 miles northwest of Chios, the Vanuatu-flagged Turkish-owned and 13 Turkish-owned unloaded ship ANT and the Singapore-flagged POTENTIA collided, and ANT is taking water from its hold.”

6 Greek coast guard bots have reportedly rushed to the collision area, together with a Navy helicopter, a Navy ship and other ships sailing nearby.

According to media,the accident took place in international waters, where, however, Greek authorities are in charge for Search and Rescue Operation.

However, the 13 Turkish crew members of the Vanuatu-flagged ship have refused so far to accept help by the Greek Coast Guard, some media reported.

On a video of the Greek Coast Guard, a Turkish Coast Guard boat has approached the collision area, it remains within the Turkish territorial waters, though.

Video: SAR operation

At the same time, the Greek Coast Guard is reportedly in contact with the captains of the cargo vessels, which were in international waters, but were in the Search and Rescue area for which Greek Authorities are responsible.

Greek media recall the Imia incident of 1996, where Turkey tried to intervene in a SAR operation of Greek authorities after a Turkish vessel ran aground. The incident almost brought the two countries on the brink of a war thus creating the so-called “grey zones” in the Aegean Sea with Turkey to keep challenging Greece’s sovereignty over a number of islands and islets in the area.

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