Frigate sent to probe freighter piracy report

A Greek frigate, accompanied by helicopter-borne elite navy commandos, was heading for international waters off the southwestern Peloponnese yesterday after authorities in Athens were notified of an alleged pirate attack on a Norwegian freighter. The Merchant Marine Ministry said its search and rescue center (EKSED) was told by Norwegian merchant marine authorities yesterday afternoon that the captain of the Norwegian-flagged KCL Banner had issued a coded piracy alert some 50 miles south-southwest of Pylos. EKSED contacted the ship’s captain, who said he had had engine trouble that had been repaired. But following a request by the Norwegian Embassy in Athens, the KCL Banner was ordered to change course for Pylos. Two coast guard vessels set out to escort it in, while the navy sent a rapid reaction group to the area.