Thursday, June 15, 2023

A fishing vessel sinks off the coast of Greece, killing at least 78 migrants and leaving scores more missing

ATHENS: A fishing boat carrying migrants capsized and sank off the coast of southern Greece on Wednesday, killing at least 78 people and leaving dozens missing, according to authorities.

In the vicinity, a massive search and rescue operation was launched. The nighttime incident occurred approximately 75 kilometers (46 miles) southwest of Greece's southern Peloponnese region. According to authorities, 104 people have been rescued thus far.

Four of the survivors suffered from hypothermia and ended up in the hospital. After the Greek coast guard reported 78 deaths, it was unclear how many passengers might remain unaccounted for at sea.

The ongoing search included six coast guard vessels, a navy frigate, a military transport plane, an air force helicopter, several private vessels, and a Frontex drone from the European Union's border protection agency.

It is believed that the vessel headed for Italy set sail from the Tobruk region in eastern Libya. On Tuesday, Greek authorities and Frontex were first informed of the approaching vessel by the Italian coast guard.

Dutzendes of rescued migrants were transported to sheltered areas set up by the ambulance services and the United Nations Refugee Agency to receive dry clothing and medical care at the southern port of Kalamata.

Beginning this month, Libyan authorities began a significant crackdown on migrants in eastern Libya. According to activists, several thousand migrants, including Pakistanis, Egyptians, Syrians, and Sudanese, have been detained. Through a land crossing point, Libyan authorities deported numerous Egyptians to their home country.

Over the past few weeks, authorities in western Libya have raided migrant hubs in the capital, Tripoli, as well as other towns. Something like 1,800 transients were kept and taken to government-run detainment habitats, as per the U.N. outcast office.

In an effort to avoid local coast guard patrols, Mediterranean smugglers are increasingly taking larger boats into international waters off the Greek mainland.

After making a distress call, 90 migrants aboard a yacht flying the American flag were rescued in the vicinity on Sunday.

Separately, on Wednesday, a distress call prompted authorities to tow a yacht carrying 81 migrants to a port on the south coast of the Greek island of Crete.

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