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Polish captain arrested after ship collision off Greek port

The Polish captain of a Portuguese-flagged container ship was arrested Wednesday after his vessel collided with a Greek minesweeper, which suffered severe damage and saw two crew members hurt, Greece’s authorities said.

Following questioning by Piraeus port authorities, the captain was arrested and charged with causing a “shipwreck due to negligence,” the merchant navy ministry said.

Greek authorities also forbade the departure of the Maersk Launceston container ship and its 22 crew.

Following the collision around 0530 GMT on Tuesday, the minesweeper took on water after suffering serious damage to the stern and was towed back to the naval base on the nearby island of Salamina, the ministry said.

Greek media reported the minesweeper was almost cut in half.

Two crew members were lightly injured and taken to hospital.

Merchant Navy Minister Yannis Plakiotakis told private television Ant1 that Greece would seek damages if it is proven the container ship had caused the incident.

J.T. Essberger, which owns and manages the container ship, said there were no injuries on board its vessel.

It said its crew had participated in the rescue operation for the crew of the minesweeper.

“Immediately after the incident all relevant authorities have been notified. The exact cause of the incident is yet unknown,” J.T. Essberger said.