Containership Maersk Launceston and Greek Minesweeper Collide Off Piraeus

Mike Schuler
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October 27, 2020

The damaged Hellenic Navy minehunter HS Kallisto is towed after its collision with a container ship off the port of Piraeus, near Perama, Greece, October 27, 2020. Sotiris Dimitropoulos/Eurokinissi via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS

Update: Maersk Launceston Captain Arrested

A Greek Navy minesweeper was badly damaged after colliding with a much larger containership off Piraeus port on Tuesday morning.

The incident involved the Navy vessel Kallisto and the Maersk Launceston, a Portuguese-flagged containership owned and managed by J.T. Essberger.

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All 27 crew members of the minesweeper are safe and accounted. Two suffered relatively minor injuries, a statement from the Hellenic Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard’s Joint Search and Rescue Coordination Center was notified of the incident at 07:40 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

The Kallisto has since been towed to the Salamis Naval Base.

Maersk Launceston was not badly damaged and is being detained by the Central Port Authority of Piraeus while a preliminary investigation in being conducted, the Coast Guard said. Reporting indicates that the captain of the containership may have been arrested or detained.

Maersk posted a statement to Twitter:

Video of the Kallisto shows the extent of damage caused by collision:

The Maersk Launceston is registered in Portugal. It was built in 2005 and has capacityof 4,533 TEU, according to data from MarineTraffic.com. AIS shows the track of the vessel as it departed Piraeus.

Image courtesy MarineTraffic.com

Imagery of the minesweeper show the vessel with its stern missing, however the vessel was somehow able to stay afloat.

https://twitter.com/ISCResearch/status/1321008912129265664

Here’s a video of the Kallisto under tow:

Statement from ship manager J.T. Essberger:

Hamburg, October 27, 2020 – Managers John T. Essberger report that earlier today its managed container vessel Maersk Launceston collided with the naval vessel Kallisto off the coast of Piraeus, Greece. Following the incident the Kallisto has sustained severe damage and two of its seafarers have been transported to hospital. There are no injuries on board of the Maersk Launceston. A first assessment of the vessel has not shown damage to the vessel. A further assessment will follow once the ship is a its lay-by berth.

Immediately after the incident all relevant authorities have been notified and the crew of Maersk Launceston have been participating in the rescue operation for the seafarers of Kallisto. The vessel has been requested to stay in the area and is currently at anchorage off the port of Piraeus.

The exact cause of the incident is yet unknown. The Coast Guard have been conducting preliminary interviews with the crew of the Maersk Launceston. Once at lay-by berth vessel will continue to assist with the investigation.

Managers would like to express their concern over the injuries of the crew of Kallisto. Also, the company would like to thank the local authorities for their swift assistance following the incident.

Maersk Launceston is a 2005 built container ship flying the Portuguese flag. The vessel has a crew of 22 on board and was on its way from Piraeus to the Turkish port of Canakkale.

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