A Greek crude oil tanker and a Turkish fishing vessel have collided in the Eastern Mediterranean, killing four men, amid heightened tensions over gas exploration in the contested waters. One person remains missing.
The Adana Governorate in Turkey confirmed that a collision took place between the Ephesos, a Greek-flagged tanker, and a Turkish fishing boat at 5:50am local time on Wednesday.
The incident occurred around 15 nautical miles off the coast, not far from the city and port of Mersin. The cause of the accident was not reported.
The statement from Adana officials said search and rescue teams have recovered four bodies, but one person remains missing.
Footage captured the aftermath of the collision, with the Turkish fishing boat capsized and rescue crews reaching the scene of the accident. The Greek tanker can be seen in the distance.
Turkey’s Coast Guard Command said that three boats and a diving team had been dispatched to the area and the search would continue for the missing fisherman.
According to maritime vessel tracker MarineTraffic, the Ephesos left Ceyhan – the end point of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline – in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The vessel, which is 274 meters long and 50 meters wide, was heading westward and was reportedly scheduled to arrive in Gibraltar on November 17.
The Ephesos is currently registered by the tracking service as “stopped.”
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Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads this year as a dispute over exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean drags on.
In October, Turkey redeployed its Oruc Reis exploration vessel to the contested waters. Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, along with the EU and the US, condemned Turkey for its unilateral action in the region.
Meanwhile, Ankara has brushed off the criticism, calling it “baseless accusations.”
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