A Hellenic Navy minesweeping vessel was badly damaged on Tuesday in the port of Piraeus after it was rammed by a huge container ship.
All 27 crew members of the 57-meter minesweeper “Kallisto”were safely evacuated. At least two were being treated for minor injuries.
The incident happened early in the morning when a container ship, the MAERSK LAUNCESTON, struck the stern of the Navy vessel. Photographs show that the stern has been almost totally destroyed.
Greek officials say that the Kallisto was taking on water and was listing dangerously.
An operation is under way to tow the ship to safety, while an investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident.
The Kallisto Navy minesweeper has been at the Salamina Naval Station since noon, where it had been towed by tugboats.
According to the latest information from the collision, the stern of the warship was destroyed, due to the fact that the vessel was constructed of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) in order to minimize its magnetic profile.
This material is of high strength but does not have the strength of sheet metal.
There was little marine pollution at the site of the collision, mainly the small amounts of wreckage from the minesweeper, along with a small amount of leaked fuel.
Private boats from a pollution mitigation company put out a floating dam to remove the oil and fuel atop the water.
The cargo ship MAERSK LAUNCESTON has now been forbidden to sailing until the damage is repaired, and while the preliminary investigation process for the maritime accident is in progress.
The prosecutor’s office has already been informed about the matter but no arrests have been made so far.
There was no navigator on the cargo ship as it was already on its way out of port.
The ship is one of the twelve HUNT minesweepers built by the VOSPER THORNYCROFT shipyards in Portsmouth, England. It is made of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) for increased strength and to minimize its magnetic footprint.
It was first launched in June of 1987 and was acquired by the Hellenic Navy on February 6, 2001.