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Turkey Accuses Greek Coast Guard of Firing Shots at Ro/Ro

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File image courtesy K. Krallis / CC BY SA 3.0

Published Sep 11, 2022 2:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, Turkey's coast guard claimed that two Greek patrol boats had fired shots at the ro/ro Anatolian off the coast of Bozcaada, Canakkale.

No casualties or injuries were reported among the ro/ro's 18 crewmembers, and the Greek boats departed when Turkish forces arrived, the Turkish service claimed. The vessel has arrived safely in the Sea of Marmara and anchored near Istanbul. 

Greece's coast guard has confirmed that its vessels interacted with the ro/ro and that the ship's captain refused a boarding for an inspection. The Greek coast guard said that the ship was escorted back to Turkish waters and that its crews fired "warning shots" to ensure compliance. 

According to Turkish media, diplomatic protests were lodged with Greece demanding an explanation and an investigation into the circumstances of the incident. 

Tensions between Greece and Turkey have been running higher than usual over the past few weeks. Turkey has accused Greece of installing military outposts on islands just off the Aegean coast of Turkey and of using fire-control radars to lock on to Turkish jets during an ongoing NATO exercise (both nations are members of NATO.) Turkish President Recip Tayyep Erdogan has warned Greece that it will pay a "heavy price" if it continues on its current path; Greece has responded that this form of rhetoric is "unacceptable," but it is still open to talks. 

The Anatolian (MMSI 20999016) was formerly known as the Mavi Marmara. The Marmara gained international notoriety when Turkish activists attempted to use her to run through the Israeli naval cordon off Gaza in 2010. Mavi Marmara was resold to a private company, and her last available AIS data showed her off Mogadishu and headed for Alang; however, she later returned to the Aegean, and her captain told local media that she was back in Turkey for repairs. 

File image courtesy K. Krallis / CC BY SA 3.0)