A Greek first instance prosecutor in Thessaloniki on Tuesday ordered a preliminary investigation after the Hellenic Navy’s historic destroyer “Velos” sustained significant damage to its stern over the weekend.
Prosecutor Dimitris Smyrnis ordered the probe to ascertain whether various offenses involving a national monument were violated. The prosecutorial order calls for the submission of all relevant documents dealing with the vessel’s maintenance and docking, as well as an expert’s report on the damages sustained.
Defense Minister Nikos Dendias had previously ordered the Hellenic Navy’s leadership to investigate the incident
The “Velos”, a ship-museum, was towed over weekend from a berth on the exposed Thessaloniki waterfront to the nearby commercial port, after it suffered serious damage to its stern.
Rough seas and gale-force winds battered the inadequately moored vessel on Saturday, with television footage – widely circulated on social media – showing breaches of its metal hull. The ship’s stern repeatedly struck the waterfront’s concrete quay.
Docking at a pier at the Thessaloniki port is temporary, as the vessel will have to be towed to a shipyard for permanent repairs.
In May 1973 most of the officers and crew aboard the Hellenic Navy destroyer, under the command of Nikos Pappas, mutinied during a NATO training exercise in protest over the military junta then ruling Greece.
The warship was renamed “Velos”, Greek for arrow”, after being transferred from the US Navy in 1959. The Fletcher-class USN destroyer valorously served as the USS Charrette (DD-581) in the Pacific theater during World War II, after being commissioned in May 1943.
The vessel was retired from active service in 1991, and today is still on commission as a Hellenic Navy Museum ship.