Turkish Coast Guard Rams U.S.-Flagged Yacht During Pursuit

turkish coast guard
Image courtesy Turkish Coast Guard

Published Jul 29, 2022 4:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday night, a Turkish Coast Guard patrol vessel rammed and shot at an American-flagged yacht which was allegedly attempting to flee a crime scene, according to Turkey's Interior Ministry. 

Acting on a tip about alleged drug smuggling activity, a Turkish Coast Guard team intercepted the Vanuatu-flagged merchant ship Ocean Blue off Yalikavak, a resort town on the Aegean. Once on scene, the coast guard crew found that the suspect vessel had rendezvoused with a 27-meter luxury yacht, identified as the U.S.-flagged Bodrum

The yacht departed the scene and headed for Greek waters, according to the ministry, and it did not heed a warning to stop. Multiple coast guard vessels gave chase. In order to prevent it from escaping, a patrol vessel opened fire on the yacht and rammed it, causing damage to its starboard quarter. 

Four people were detained aboard the yacht and one cell phone was recovered, and the damaged vessel was brought back to port for a thorough search. Photos from after the action suggest that the patrol boat also took minor damage to its port bow.

In total, from the merchant vessel, the yacht and the waters near the scene, Turkish law enforcement claimed to have recovered a total of 81 kilos of cocaine.