22 immigrants drown off Greece

Published May 6, 2014

ATHENS: At least 22 migrants including four children drowned in the Aegean Sea on Monday after a yacht and a dinghy carrying them towards Greek shores capsized, coastguard officials said.

Eighteen people were found dead on board the 10-metre (33-foot) yacht after it was towed to shore, the coastguard said, adding that another four bodies were recovered at sea.

Most of the migrants are believed to be from Somalia and according to reports, at least one of the women who died was pregnant.

Overall, some 65 migrants were attempting to make the crossing from neighbouring Turkey when their vessels went down near the Greek island of Samos.

The accident occurred in mild weather.

The authorities have so far picked up 36 survivors, including three women and a boy, who was flown to an Athens hospital suffering from hypothermia.

A search was underway for half a dozen migrants still believed to be missing, backed by two helicopters, Greek and EU coastguard patrol vessels and three fishing boats.

Four children -- three boys and a girl -- are among those who perished in addition to 12 women and six men, the coastguard said.

The authorities did not give details of their nationalities.

A spokeswoman for the coastguard said the capsized vessels were spotted early on Monday morning by a patrol boat from the EU border agency Frontex, which alerted the Greek coastguard.

Greece is one of the main ports of entry into the European Union for people fleeing war-torn and impoverished countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

People traffickers are using Greece’s Aegean islands as a preferred route into Europe following a tightening of migration controls along its land border with Turkey.

The main opposition Syriza party on Monday said border controls were responsible for the loss of life in the Aegean.

“The fencing of borders costs lives across the Mediterranean,” the radical leftist party said.

“And it also costs exorbitant sums which could have been spent to receive refugees. The European budget has earmarked $6.4 billion to further develop border fencing over the next six years,” Syriza said.

At least 19 migrants have drowned in the perilous Aegean Sea crossings since the beginning of the year. —AFP

Opinion

Editorial

The fall guy
Updated 18 Aug, 2022

The fall guy

Maryam Nawaz’s public distancing from Miftahrecent fuel price hike was quite uncalled for.
Never-ending scourge
18 Aug, 2022

Never-ending scourge

POLIO eradication efforts in the country appear to have suddenly taken a giant leap backwards. A day after...
Frozen Afghan funds
18 Aug, 2022

Frozen Afghan funds

WITH Afghanistan facing a humanitarian catastrophe and economic collapse, the American decision to not release ...
No end to hostility
Updated 17 Aug, 2022

No end to hostility

It is time for all parties to rise above petty tactics and hostilities for political gains and pull country back from brink.
Deadly accidents
17 Aug, 2022

Deadly accidents

TWO horrific accidents on Tuesday, which resulted in high death tolls, illustrate the dangers people face while ...
New banknote
17 Aug, 2022

New banknote

PAKISTAN has a new currency note to mark the diamond jubilee of independence. The 75-rupee banknote, issued by the...