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€40 million guarantee given after Kallisto minesweeper was split in half

A bank letter guaranteeing 40 million euros was submitted by the company that owns the Maersk Launceston cargo ship that collided into the Greek Naval Kallisto minesweeping ship on October 27.

Since the Maersk Launceston was not permitted to leave Piraeus Port after cutting the Kallisto in two, the Greek state requested a 40 million euro guarantee before it could sail again.

The bank letter of guarantee submitted constitutes strong quality assurance, according to sources from the Ministry of Commercial Shipping.

However, investigations into the causes of the maritime accident and the imputation of responsibility still has a long way to go.

At around 07:30 on October 27, the 266 meter long container ship went over the light and fiberglass-made with reinforced plastic minesweeper.

€40 million guarantee given after Kallisto minesweeper was split in half 1
The Kallisto minesweeper.

Shortly before colliding with the Navy minesweeper, Maersk Launceston was sailing at a speed of 16 knots.

This is shown on the electronic maps that record the course of merchant ships and are available to everyone.

For a container ship, time is of the essence.

Merchant ships have tough clauses in case of the late delivery of goods. Often, ship crews do not lose a minute since even a small delay entails huge losses for the ship-owning company.

On October 27, the “Maersk Launceston” was moving at a speed of 5.3 knots until it reached Psyttalia.

From 07:04, just 14 minutes after departure, where it was sailing at 5.3 knots, it began to gradually increase his speed.

At 07:10 it was moving at 6.8 knots and at 07:14 it was sailing at 9.8 knots.

By 07:19 it was moving at 12.2 knots, at 07:24 at 16.1 knots, and at 07:29 its speed was recorded at 16 knots.

A few minutes later, at around 07:34, the huge container ship collided with the back of the Kallisto that had sailed from Salamis port.

MAERSK LAUNCESTON kallisto Greece greek
The Kallisto minesweeper.

Both ships were heading south, sailing almost in parallel. Both the Kallisto and the Maersk Launceston were moving towards so-called separation, the area where merchant and warships passing through in different directions.

At present it is not easy to reconstruct the last moments before the collision of the Greek warship with the container ship.

At sea, the ship in front usually has priority. From the photos that captured the violent collision of the two ships and the huge damage the Kallisto suffered, it seems that the minesweeper was in front of the container ship.

In addition, the Maersk Launceston had the small minesweeper on its right, so it had to give priority to the small warship.

But what happened and what caused the collision?

MAERSK LAUNCESTON kallisto
The Kallisto minesweeper.

The Coast Guard is conducting the preliminary investigation which has not yet been completed.

How many Maersk Launceston crew members were on the bridge with the captain at the time of the collision?

Why did they not realize the presence of the minesweeper?

What movement did the Captain of the Kallisto make?

What were the communications of the crews of the two ships via wireless?

What was said between the container ship and the minesweeper?

Were the warship crew’s collision avoidance maneuvers appropriate?

All these questions are expected to be answered during the investigation. The records imprinted on the black box of the container ship will also be of great value.

The investigation of the accident is progressing, converging information reports.

Following the report from the Greek Navy, Greek public advisers and the lawyers of the Maersk are expected to start working together to agree with the insurance company on the terms of compensation for the destruction of an almost new warship.

Unexpectedly, it will be a long process where each side will have to carefully substantiate its arguments in order to establish who was responsible for the conflict and the total destruction of the Kallisto, fortunately without human casualties.

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