By Nick Stamatakis

In the last few days the episode between the Greek frigate “Limnos” and the Turkish frigate “Kemal Reis” has become widely known, thanks mostly to being recorded by the crew of “Limnos”… This recording was forwarded immediately to the U.S., French and E.U. leadership.  President Macron of France used it during a phone call to Erdogan to threaten further actions against Turkey; It was presented by Greek Foreign Minister Mr. Dendias to a E.U. Foreign Ministers meeting last Friday in Vienna where it left the other ministers speechless (but thanks to Germany’s intervention they failed to take measures against Turkey…)  In the days that followed even the Wall Street Journal published a report on the “collision of the two warships“…  Meanwhile the details of the whole episode – along with the protagonists, the captains – have now become much clearer… The personality of a real hero, the captain of “Limnos”, Yiannis Saliaris, has emerged.

“Helleniscope” already presented an extensive analysis of the episode immediately after it happened (click here).  But according to a detailed report by Giorgos Adalis, (published a few hours ago at the very reliable foreign policy website slpress.gr), last Wednesday the frigate “Limnos” was sailing some 40 miles south of Kastelorizo, heading at the general area where the Turkish exploratory ship “Oruc Reis” was supposedly starting oil and gas explorations, followed by an armada of the Turkish navy – about 60 miles away from its position at a speed of 12 knots.  It was before dawn when the flagship of the Turkish Navy (and their newest ship) frigate “Kemal Reis”, the pride of the Turkish Navy, led by a captain considered to be the best they have, approached “Limnos” and initially pretended that it had no “bad intentions”, sailing for sometime in a parallel course but very close.

The very experienced captain of Limnos, Yiannis Saliaris, kept the crew alert, always suspicious, as the Turks had a policy of “harassing” Greek ships anywhere they thought they will receive no “hard reaction”… They seemed to believe that this was also the case of “Limnos”… Suddenly, “Kemal Reis” turned left and run at great speed in an attempt to ram “Limnos”… Captain Saliaris ordered the crew to stop the engines and was able to avoid collision at the last possible minute. At that time the Turkish captain of “Kemal Reis” made a maneuver and attempted to ram “Limnos” from the right side this time.

Captain Saliaris did not hesitate one minute.  He ordered “full speed ahead” immediately and his 40-yr old ship (but very well maintained by a team of dedicated sailors and engineers) responded in a miraculous way: “Limnos” hit “Kemal Reis” at the bow from the right side causing a gap 4-meters high!! “Limnos” suffered minor scratches, as the stern of warships is their strongest point, and proceeded immediately to participate in joint Greek-French exercises a few miles south of the “collision” area…

PHOTO: “LIMNOS” AFTER THE EPISODE..

“Kemal Reis” would be considered a “total loss” if it was not for the “Turkish pride” of losing their flagship to a 40-yr old Greek frigate…  Its captain had to fill half the ship’s hold with water to make it stable and then it sailed to the nearest private shipyard for major repairs. The axes of the ship will probably need to be replaced along with several supports and at least 2 engines… It was a real disaster…  For one more time, the world had a chance to see first hand what a 5,000 year old maritime tradition means…  One is clearly reminded of the naval battles between the British and the German Navy in the North Sea during WWII –  where the British emerged victorious using their superb navigation skills even though they faced a technologically advanced German Navy… At sea, technology will only get you this far…

BELOW A PHOTO SHOWING THE HUGE GAP AT THE SIDE OF “KEMAL REIS”

As for captain Yiannis Saliaris a quick look at his biography says it all…  Born in 1973, he went through all the ranks of the Greek Navy with flying colors and also earned at least 3 master’s degrees in electrical engineering and foreign relations.  He speaks English, French, German… Married with 2 children he lives in the island of Salamis, just a few miles from the main Greek Naval Base, near the site of the ancient naval battle against the Persians, a Greek victory which changed the course of history… He is a real hero and he deserves any award available at the Greek President’s office… But we are sure he is not serving to get any awards… He is there for the love of country, the love of the navy and the support of his fellow Greek sailors…

AT ABOUT 1:30 OF THE FOLLOWING VIDEO YOU CAN SEE THE HERO CAPTAIN AFTER THE END OF A RECENT NAVAL TRAINING…

August 17, 2020, n.stamatakis@aol.com   www.helleniscope.com

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