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Five people killed after Turkish fishing boat collides with Greek tanker

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By Euronews  with AP
Turkish Coast Guard officials have launched a search-and-rescue operation off the district of Karataş.
Turkish Coast Guard officials have launched a search-and-rescue operation off the district of Karataş.   -   Copyright  Anadolu Agency

A Turkish fishing boat has capsized after colliding with a Greek-flagged tanker off Turkey's Mediterranean coast, officials said.

Five people on board the fishing boat were killed and their bodies had been recovered by the authorities.

The collision happened at 05:50 (03:50 CET) on Wednesday between the Polatbey fishing boat and the Greek-flagged Ephesus, around 15 nautical miles off the coast of Karataş district, in Adana province.

The cause of the incident was not immediately known and judicial procedures into the collision are ongoing.

The Turkish coast guard says a search-and-rescue operation was launched shortly after communications with the boat was lost.

Four coast guard boats, a team of divers, and a manned reconnaissance aircraft belonging to the General Directorate of Security were all involved in the search.

The Adana governor's office has also paid respects to those killed in the collision and have sent condolences to their relatives

Meanwhile, Greece's Foreign Ministry described the incident as "tragic".

"We deplore the loss of human lives and extend our condolences to the bereaved families," the Ministry said on Twitter.

Tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean have been hostile for several months over the control of energy resources.

Greece previously accused Ankara of undermining efforts to ease a crisis over drilling rights in disputed waters. MEPs have also urged the European Union to impose punitive measures on Turkey.

On Wednesday, Athens condemned Turkey's latest NAVTEX exploration, saying that its neighbours were "continuing to violate the international law of the sea and undermining the stability of the area".

Last month, a Portuguese cargo ship collided with a Greek warship off the coast of Piraeus, a major port near Athens.

Two crew members of the Greek warship were "slightly injured" in the incident and the captain of the Portuguese vessel was arrested.