430 people are believed to be in the boat towed by a fishing boat to the port of Paleochora, in southwestern Crete.
A boat with hundreds of migrants on board, who had sent a distress signal at sea on the night of Monday to Tuesday, November 22, docked in a port on the Greek island of Crete, the coast guard announced on Tuesday.
According to the public channel ERT, 430 people are on board this boat which could be towed by a fishing boat to the port of Paleochora, in the south-west of Crete. Some “400 to 500 people are on board according to their own statements“Said a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard.
Distress call in the night
No indication was provided of the nationality of these persons. The images from the ERT channel essentially showed men on the deck of an obviously dilapidated and rusty boat. The coast guard had been alerted overnight from Monday to Tuesday by a distress call shortly after midnight as strong winds blew in this area in the extreme south-west of Crete, the largest island in Greece.
Two cargo ships, an oil tanker and two Italian fishing boats were nearby to provide assistance, they said. Due to increased patrols by the Greek Coast Guard and the European border surveillance agency Frontex in the eastern Aegean, migrant smugglers now take a longer and more perilous route south of Crete to enter the European Union.
“Eighty percent of flows from Turkey go directly to Italy“, had declared last week to the private channel Skai TV the Greek Minister of Migrations, Notis Mitarachi. Human tragedies are on the increase due to the risks taken by migrants who board makeshift boats on stormy or even raging seas in autumn and winter.
On October 11, at least thirty people died in two shipwrecks off the islands of Lesbos and Kythera. During this last shipwreck which killed at least eight people, dozens of survivors, mainly from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, stranded at the foot of a cliff, were hoisted by the rescuers with a winch.
In early November, more than 21 people died and dozens were missing in two simultaneous shipwrecks off the islands of Samos and Euboea.
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