A Turkish general cargo ship has been fired upon by the Greek Coast Guard boat while cruising off the coast of the island of Rhodes.
MV Act was on its way from the port of İskenderun to the port of İzmit on Monday, July 3 when the incident occurred, as informed by Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry. There were no injuries reported.
“There is no explanation whatsoever of the fact that a merchant vessel which is unarmed by definition and ferrying cargo between two Turkish ports came under fire. Our only consolation in this incident is that there is no loss of life or injury,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We protest in the strongest terms possible this disproportionate act by the Greek authorities which disregards the most fundamental right of human life which is right to live and deem it necessary to share with the international community our expectation that no such incident is repeated,” the statement further reads.
The captain of the Turkish-flagged ship told the local media that the Greek Coast Guard approached the ship in international waters and wanted his vessel to dock in a port in Rhodes where it would be searched as they had information that the ship might be involved in narcotics smuggling. Since the captain refused to do so, the Coast Guard fired upon the cargo ship, the Associated Press informed.
Commenting on the events, the Greek Coast Guard said in a statement that the Rhodes Port Authority received an anonymous telephone complaint saying that MV Act, which was sailing east of Rhodes, was carrying drugs.
As explained, a port authority vessel was mobilized immediately and spotted the cargo ship in Greek territorial waters. The Coast Guard requested the master to sail the ship to Rhodes for inspection, however, as the master refused to do so, warning shots were fired. Nevertheless, MV Act resumed the voyage to the Turkish territorial waters.
The Greek Coast Guard added that it had informed the competent Turkish authorities of the incident.
Based on the ship’s latest AIS data, the 1986-built MV Act is underway using engine in the Aegean Sea, having departed from Marmaris anchorage.
World Maritime News Staff