Home News 500 migrants are on a boat, and the rescue operation is underway

500 migrants are on a boat, and the rescue operation is underway

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The Greek Coast Guard announced that a rescue operation was underway on Tuesday, November 22 off Crete, after a boat with up to 500 migrants on board sent a distress signal.

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“We can see the boat. It is drifting. There are too many people on board.”A coast guard spokesman told AFP, specifying that their number ranged between 400 and 500, according to the distress call received by the authorities.

sequel after announcement

Tricky rescue

The operation was difficult because of the strong winds that blew in this area southwest of Greece’s largest island, Crete. The Coast Guard said it received a distress call Monday night through Tuesday after midnight.

They added that two cargo ships, an oil tanker and two Italian fishing boats were nearby to provide assistance.

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Due to increased patrols in the Aegean Sea by the Greek Coast Guard and the European border control agency Frontex, migrant smugglers are now taking a longer and more dangerous route south of Crete to enter the European Union.

But human tragedies are heightened by the dangers posed by migrants on makeshift boats in the stormy or even rough seas of autumn and winter.

sequel after announcement

299 people have been killed since January

On October 11, at least thirty people died in two shipwrecks off the islands of Lesbos and Kythira. And in early November, more people perished in the wrecks of two synchronized ships.

According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 299 people have died or gone missing in the eastern Mediterranean since the beginning of 2022 so far compared to 111 in total last year. Greece, Italy and Spain are among the main countries of destination for migrants from Africa and the Middle East wanting to reach the European Union.

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In the first nine months of this year, Greece saw an 80% increase in immigrant arrivals from neighboring Turkey compared to the same period in 2021, according to official data.

The Greek Coast Guard has reported saving about 1,500 lives compared to less than 600 last year, according to official data. Since the start of the year, 1,891 people trying to reach Europe have disappeared in the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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