A Greek Coast Guard vessel was harassed by the Turkish Coast Guard boat during a search and rescue operation off the island of Samos in the eastern Aegean on Tuesday morning according to a statement released by the Hellenic (Greek) Coast Guard.
The incident, which was reportedly recorded on video by an Italian boat of the Frontex EU border agency, occurred during a search and rescue operation for survivors after a ship believed to have been carrying up to fourteen migrants capsized at 3.8 nautical miles south of Samos on Monday.
Evidently, a foreign-flagged cargo ship participating in the search found a body within Greek territorial waters and within the area of responsibility for search and rescue of the Greek authorities. It then informed a Turkish vessel sailing within Turkish territorial waters to pick it up. Another Turkish vessel entered Greek territorial waters, however, and began a series of dangerous maneuvers.
Turkish vessel attempted to show weapons to Greek Coast Guard
The patrol vessel L.S.-EL.AKT. of the Greek Coast Guard approached the offshore vessel in order to point out its violation of Greek territorial waters while the Turkish ship was attempting to collect the body. The Turkish Coast Guard attempted to damage the Greek vessel at that time. It was also reported that the Turkish vessel even tried to show weapons.
In a public statement, the Greek Coast Guard said:
In the morning hours of Tuesday, a foreign flag ship, which had been committed by the Unified Search & Rescue Coordination Center (EKSED) to participate in the search and rescue operation of migrants, located one…body within the area of search and rescue responsibility of the Greek authorities and within Greek territorial waters, informing a Turkish floating vessel, which sailed within Turkish territorial waters, for its collection.
Afterwards, a Turkish offshore vessel, which was sailing in an adjacent area, entered the search and rescue area of the Greek authorities and Greek territorial waters and carried out dangerous [maneuvers] against the LS-EL.AKT patrol vessel. During the process of collecting the body and while the patrol vessel L.S.-EL.AKT. approached the offshore vessel in order to point out that it has violated Greek territorial waters, the Turkish offshore vessel tried to cause damage to the L.S.-EL.AKT. vessel, while at the same time it made a display of weapons.
Migrants missing in two separate incidents
Dozens of migrants have been reported missing after a boat sank in the early hours of Tuesday off the coast of Evia in central Greece.
The Greek Coast Guard has launched a massive operation to locate those missing from aboard the vessel that began its journey near Smyrna on the western coast of Turkey.
At this point, only nine people have been rescued. In speaking to the police, they told Greek officers that the boat carried sixty-eight people from Afghanistan, Egypt, and Iran.
According to an official Greek Coast Guard announcement, the operation began after a distress signal was sent by passengers on the vessel to the 112 hot line. Rescue efforts are being hampered by adverse weather conditions, with winds of up to eight Beaufort.
In a separate incident, Greek rescue crews are searching for eight people reported missing after a boat believed to have been carrying migrants capsized off the eastern Aegean island of Samos.
The coast guard says they have saved four—two by a fishing boat and another two by a vessel of the European border patrol agency, Frontex.
The survivors told authorities a total of twelve people had been on board the dinghy when it capsized south of Samos.
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