The Polish captain of an AP Moller-Maersk-chartered boxship has been released from custody in Greece following a collision that cut a minesweeper in two last week.

The unnamed master of the 4,405-teu Maersk Launceston (built 2005) was arrested on Friday after the accident involving the Greek naval vessel Kallisto on 27 October off Piraeus.

The containership has been asked to stay in the area while an investigation continues.

The ship's German manager, JT Essberger, has described the master's release as "temporary".

The captain is being relieved by a replacement master, who arrived in Greece over the weekend to take command of the vessel.

"Whilst the exact circumstances of the collision remain unclear, JT Essberger and the master will continue to offer their cooperation to the investigators," JT Essberger said. "Managers continue to provide legal support to the master."

The organisation said it regrets the incident and the minor injuries suffered by two Kallisto crew.

"The company has welcomed the good news that the two injured crew members have meanwhile been released from hospital," the manager said.

Minor damage

An assessment of the vessel has shown that the Maersk Launceston sustained very minor damage as a result of the collision.

JT Esssberger said an inspection has confirmed its seaworthiness. The manager is arranging for corrective action following a port state control inspection by Greek authorities on Saturday.

JT Essberger told TradeWinds last week that the captain had been charged in connection with the incident, without giving further details.

The Greek coast guard said the master was held over alleged violations of the Greek penal code and of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Breathalyser tests on both sets of ship officers were negative.

The Maersk vessel, with 22 crew members, was bound for Canakkale in Turkey.

AP Moller-Maersk has said it is in contact with the owner — Vierte Oceania — and offering its full support in handling "this serious incident".

The Maersk Launceston, which has insurance cover with the UK P&I Club, has one port-state-control detention on its record.

The ship was held in Brisbane, Australia, in July last year with two deficiencies relating to lashing material and the International Safety Management Code.