Greece: dozens of migrants who have disappeared after a sinking

Between 30 and 50 refugees disappeared during a sinking in the south-east of the Aegean Sea in Greece. Athens accuses Ankara of increasing migratory pressure at the borders.


From dawn on Wednesday August 10, the Greek coast guard activated off the islands of Rhodes and Karpathos, south-east of the Aegean Sea, with helicopters, patrollers and a tanker to wear Help at dozens of refugees who were in danger in the open sea following the sinking of their overloaded boat, which turned out due to a violent swell. Twenty-nine people, mainly Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi men, were able to be rescued and transported to the neighboring islands of Karpathos and Kos where a migrant camp is located, according to the Greek authorities. But between 30 and 50 exiles were still missing on Wednesday according to the port police who had trouble establishing the exact number of occupants of the ship from the Turkish bank, only a few kilometers.

According to the first statements of the survivors, “about 80 people were on the boat,” said the coast guard first. But according to their spokesperson, Nikos Kokalas, interviewed on the public television channel ERT, has been chasing the hypothesis that “it is not possible that this boat could transport 80 migrants, there must be a lower number of ‘Occupants “, while admitting that migrant boats” are always overloaded “. Nikos Kokalas also said that the majority of passengers “did not wear life vests” and that the boat, who left the Turkish city of Antalya, had the final destination Italy.

For migrants trapped in Turkey and wanting to join Europe, access to the northern Islands of the Aegean Sea (Lesbos, Samos, Chios) has become more and more complicated, the presence of the European Agency Surveillance of Frontx borders and Greek coast guard who has been strengthened since March 2020 and illegal migrant repressions having become almost systematic. The research group Forensic Architecture has identified and documented on its platform Online 1,018 “Pushbacks” in the Aegean Sea in just two years (March 2020-March 2022).

pushed back in the open sea or detained once on the Greek island and forcibly returned to rescue canoes without engine, migrants are forced to return to Turkey after having often been stripped and violated by the Greek Coast Guard . This practice is contrary to international law and the Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees. Despite the surveys carried out by NGOs and the media, Athens has always denied having recourse to these repressions.

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/Media reports.