Greece rescues hundreds of migrants in sinking off Crete

4 June 2016
118 Views

Hundreds of migrants were rescued from a sinking ship off the island of Crete in the southern Mediterranean on Friday, the Greek coastguard said.

It was impossible to speculate how many people might be unaccounted for, the coastguard said. State broadcaster ERT carried unsourced accounts the vessel was carrying anything between 500 and 700 people.

The death toll in the southern Mediterranean has mounted in recent weeks by migrants attempting sea crossings from North Africa to Europe this year. More than 2,000 people have died.

Greek authorities said 340 people were rescued, but nine bodies were also recovered in a location about 75 nautical miles off southern Crete, in territory which falls under Egypt’s search and rescue jurisdiction.

There was no immediate official word on how many people may be missing and Greek coastguard officials declined to speculate. It was not immediately clear where the boat had sailed from.

“From some scattered accounts we have heard (from those rescued) they set off from the African coastline,” coastguard spokesman Nikos Lagkadianos said.

Merchant ships sailing in the area assisted in the operation, with about 242 people rescued taken to Italy and others to Egypt, Turkey and Malta, the coastguard said.

Hundreds of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees crossed the short but precarious sea corridor to Greece from Turkey last year in small inflatable boats, but that route was effectively sealed after an EU-Turkey clampdown in March.

Now, warm weather and calmer seas in the Mediterranean have led to a surge in recent weeks in the number of people trying to cross to Italy from Libya, where people-smugglers operate with relative impunity.

Boats on this much longer journey risk being blown off course to islands such as Crete. Friday’s incident was the third in a week involving migrant rescues or landings on the island

You may be interested

A Greek & a Cypriot on POLITICO’s list of the 28 most influential EU personalities for 2018
FINANCE
shares24 views
FINANCE
shares24 views

A Greek & a Cypriot on POLITICO’s list of the 28 most influential EU personalities for 2018

makis - Dec 15, 2017

One of the two names is more than well-known both in Greece and around Europe as it belongs to the…

Tito’s granddaughter sides with Greece against FYROM
POLITICS
shares78 views
POLITICS
shares78 views

Tito’s granddaughter sides with Greece against FYROM

makis - Dec 15, 2017

“Although my grandfather, Josip Broz Tito, ‘gave’ the name ‘Macedonia’ to one of the six constituent republics of Yugoslavia, it…

Education Minister Gavroglou opens a window for election of the Islamic mufti in Komotini
GREECE
shares33 views
GREECE
shares33 views

Education Minister Gavroglou opens a window for election of the Islamic mufti in Komotini

makis - Dec 15, 2017

A few days after the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Greece, the Minister of Education, Kostas Gavroglou…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.