Collision of Greek boat, Turkish vessel caught on video

February 17, 2018

This still image taken from video aboard a Greek patrol boat obtained by the Associated Press on Feb. 17, 2018, shows a Turkish coastguard vessel at right, in the Aegean Sea on Feb. 12, 2018, during an incident where the two boats collided. (AP Photo)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Video footage surfaced Saturday of the moment a Turkish coast guard vessel collided with a stationary Greek patrol boat near a pair of Aegean Sea islets over which the two countries almost went to war in 1996.

Cameras on the Greek coast guard boat recorded two videos. They show the Turkish vessel hitting or scraping the Greek one near the stern.

It’s not clear from the footage if the contact on Monday night was deliberate, resulted by mistake from a threatening maneuver, or another cause. But footage in one of the videos showed a downed pole or antenna on the Greek ship.

A Greek coast guard spokeswoman confirmed the existence of the videos and said they were not leaked to Greek media outlets by the maritime agency.

The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity because of coast guard customs limiting the contexts in which officials speak publicly.

A set of photos published on a Greek website focusing on military issues show extensive damage to the side of the vessel.

When the collision happened, the vessels were off the uninhabited Imia islets - Kardak in Turkish - to which both Turkey and Greece claim territorial rights.

Tensions between the NATO allies already were rising over the warships Turkey deployed in recent days to block a drilling rig from reaching a location off of Cyprus.

Update hourly