29 October 2020
Greek Navy Minehunter HS Kallisto Cut in Two after Colliding With Container Ship
The Greek Hellenic Navy minehunter HS Kallisto (M63) was cut in two after colliding with a container ship off the Greek port of Piraeus early on Tuesday.
“On Tuesday, October 27, 2020 and around 07:30 in the sea area of the Saronic Gulf, a merchant ship collided with Kallisto. The Navy undertakes all the necessary actions to deal with the incident,” said a Hellenic Navy statement. According to reports, Kallisto was coming out of the port when the cargo ship, identified as Portuguese-flagged Maersk Launcheston, collided with its stern resulting in a major damage and inflow of water.
There were 27 people on board the naval vessel and, according to a coast guard official, two of them were slightly injured after falling into the sea during the incident. The two injured personnel were evacuated and taken to the Athens Naval Hospital. The reports added that the remaining crew are well and safe.
Images of the incident showed the naval vessel tilting on its side and sinking. An operation is underway by the Coast Guard and the Navy to tow the ship by a tugboat to the port of Salamis in order to prevent its sinking. The exact circumstances of the incident is currently not known. HS Kallisto (M63) is an Ex-Royal Navy Hunt class mine countermeasure vessel (MCMV) operated by Greece’s Hellenic Navy. Greece took delivery of the vessel from the UK Royal Navy in 2001. The vessel was named HMS Berkeley (M40) in Royal Navy service. Source: Defpost
Exact details of the cause of the incident have not yet been determined but tracking data from AIS system shows Mearsk Launceston leaving Pireus at 16.5 knots heading south into the Sardonic Gulf on one of the established sealanes, with Kallisto off her port quarter, heading west, intending to pass astern of the bigger ship. For some reason, yet to be determined, the container vessel slowed to five knots and commenced a wide turn to starboard, as if reversing course. She collided with Kallisto amidships on the port side, cutting the MCMV in two about in the position of the engine room bulkhead. The forward section of the MCMV listed to starboard but remained afloat while the after section drifted away and sank.
Maersk Launceston was on charter to Maersk lines from a German ship owner. The master of the container ship has been arrested by Greek authorities.
In Greek mythology Kallisto was a nymph, among the companions of the Goddess Diana. One of many maidens who caught the lecherous attention of Zeus, chief of the Gods, whose hobby was de-flowering virgin mortals. Diana was furious when Kallisto’s condition was discovered and the poor girl was cast out of the divine circle – it’s the same the whole world over…She was later turned into a bear and is linked with the Great Bear constellation.