Migrants on a lifeboat (illustration). - French Navy

A shipwrecked yacht rescue operation took place overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday off the island of Halki (Greece). The Greek Coast Guard rescued 96 migrants who were on board.

The operation began on Tuesday evening after the port police were informed of the "difficult situation" of the yacht, which had issued a distress signal. Four coast guard patrol boats, a rescue boat, a naval army building, five freighters and an air force helicopter were mobilized, according to the merchant marine ministry.

https://t.co/z2vI8CiMA4 Greek coast guard rescues 96 from yacht carrying migrants https://t.co/6YYHfulisg https://t.co/UurUc7klCs pic.twitter.com/FyDHznUjH7

- SB Design Media. (@SBDesignMedia) August 26, 2020

Tensions with Turkey

This Wednesday, two port police patrollers and a Greek navy boat still crisscrossed the area "to identify any missing persons", according to the port police. The migrants had boarded from the neighboring Turkish coast, heading for Italy. Among the survivors, the authorities identified three suspected smugglers.

The majority of survivors are in good health. The majority are Syrians, Iraqis, Somalis and Kurds. Ten children are among them. Nineteen other people were picked up by a freighter sailing in the area.

The Greek ministry deplored the presence of “two Turkish patrol boats in the area” who “did not participate in the rescue”. "They prevented the operation of the Greek coast guard", acting "against the international convention of rescue at sea", indicated the ministerial statement. The incident comes under tension in the eastern Mediterranean, where Greece and Turkey are fighting over maritime areas of exploitation.


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