Turkish research vessel Oruç Reis is nearing the Greek island of Kastellorizo.
On Tuesday morning it was spotted 33 kilometres from Kastellorizo, accompanied by the Ataman and Cengiz Han.
The armed forces continue to be on high alert. “The Armed Forces have not stopped for a second to closely monitor the movements of both Oruç Reis and the Turkish fleet. The military personnel has once again been put on high alert, with our warships (as the relevant photos show) having been deployed in the area of Turkish provocations, taking key positions, ready to react,” an official from the Ministry of National Defence said.
According to Kathimerini, Oruç Reis’ transponder was switched off.
The Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) published photos showing the strong presence of Greek ships in the area of the Kastellorizo island complex.
“More proof that the armed forces are fully prepared, but also fully determined to carry out their mission successfully, defending our sovereign interests,” GEETHA said.
According to sources, Oruc Reis came within less than 9 nautical miles from the island of Kastellorizo.
Below is the current position of the vessel according to Marinetraffic.com.
Last week, Turkey issued a Navigation Telex (NAVTEX) for Oruç Reis to carry out activities south of the island of Kastellorizo, until October 22.
It is recalled the Turkish research vessel returned to Turkey mid-September after violating the Greek and Cypriot continental shelf and maritime space for over a month.
On Monday, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said that the Oruç Reis “is currently making 2D seismic surveys” and estimated that it will complete its work in two months. If the ship finds an area “with high expectations,” Ankara will deploy a drilling ship.
On Tuesday, Greece issued three NAVTEX messages, announcing aeronautical firing exercises in the vicinity of Agios Eystratios and Limnos islands, to which Turkey responded with two of its own.