Turkish Coast Guard Boat Slams Greek Coast Vessel Near Imia



With tension remaining over Turkish plans to drill for oil and gas off Greek islands, it ratcheted up Jan. 7 when a Turkish Coast Guard boat collided with a Greek Coast Guard vessel near the islets of Imia where they almost went to war in 1996.

The newly-built Greek Rafnar-type speedboat suffered damage but the extent wasn’t given by sources not named who talked to the newspaper Kathimerini, which said the Turkish boat rammed the Greek ship.

The Greek Coast Guard said the boat was operating inside Greece’s territorial waters but Turkey’s Coast Guard said that two Greek fishing boats entered Turkish territorial waters near the island and were pushed back.

More details were expected to come as there was no report on whether of whether there was a response to the ramming.

Three Greek servicemen died in a helicopter crash off Imia in 1996 under mysterious circumstances still not explained, with some believing it was shot down and the incident covered up to prevent war as both countries then claimed the islets.