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38 illegal immigrants rescued off Mytilene Island

12 May 2014 / 17:05:54  GRReporter
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This morning, 38 illegal immigrants attempting to illegally enter Greece by boat were discovered in the Greek territorial waters off Mytilene Island in the Aegean Sea.

The immigrants had called the 112 emergency number and said they were in the sea near Mytilene Island, adding that some of them had fallen into the water. The Coast Guard at Mytilene port had been immediately informed about the situation.

Fortunately, the boat of the port authorities had just passed nearby at that very moment and found the boat of the illegal immigrants, picking up 37 of them from it and taking one out of the water.

The nationality of the illegal immigrants (including 37 men and 1 woman) has not yet been established and the authorities are trying to find the trafficker as well.

Meanwhile, at 7 a.m. this morning, passenger ferry European Express transported to Piraeus port the 32 illegal immigrants, survivors of the incident of boat sinking off Samos island last week, in which 22 people lost their lives and 7 are yet to be found.

The illegal immigrants include 7 Syrian citizens, 24 Somalis and 1 woman from Eritrea. The same ferry transported 12 dead bodies as well.

Speaking to reporters, one of the illegal immigrants, namely 25-year-old Somali Yassin, says he had left his country paying $2,000 to get to Turkey and, from there, to go to Greece and Europe by sea. He states that they had spent around four hours at sea when the vessel that transported them had sunk. He adds that the Coast Guard employees helped them and treated them well.
Asked how the boat sank, he replies that one of the traffickers had put on board over 60 people instead of 25 due to which the boat had begun filling with water and had eventually sunk. Yassin also says that the captain of the boat was drunk and had probably taken some pills.

The immigrants were met at Piraeus port by the committee for involvement of the left coalition SYRIZA and party deputy Vasiliki Katrivanou alerted that there is no place, where the authorities can temporarily accommodate these people.

"The Greek state should take care of these people who have suffered not only physically but also mentally, going through this tragic ordeal, from the first moment and find a place to temporarily accommodate them," states the deputy. She also points out that two days ago they asked Athens Municipality to provide a centre for temporary accommodation but it has not yet responded. Vasiliki Katrivanou defines as tragic and criminal the cases of the constant wrecks of boats transporting illegal immigrants in the Mediterranean.

The committee for involvement of SYRIZA states that the Somali community will probably give shelter to some of the illegal immigrants and that it is looking for options for a temporary accommodation centre for the rest.

At the initiative of Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias and in relation to foreign nationals and border protection, an order has been issued to provide shelter to the illegal immigrants who have survived the boat sinking.

They will be entitled to a 6-month postponement of extradition, with a possible extension of this period, for humanitarian reasons. In connection with the incident near Samos Island, the authorities arrested two Syrians who are believed to have been traffickers.

Tags: Illegal immigrantsCoast guardBoat sinkingTraffickers
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