Fifteen people die as migrant boat sinks near Greek island in Aegean Sea

'The solution is to protect people, to implement safe procedures and safe routes for migrants and refugees, to hit the human trafficking circuits'

Lefteris Papadimas
Saturday 17 March 2018 16:41
Comments
Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have entered Europe over the last few years, with many dying while trying to make it across
Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have entered Europe over the last few years, with many dying while trying to make it across

Fifteen people, including at least five children, drowned on Saturday when the small boat they were travelling on capsized in the Aegean Sea, Greek coast guard officials said.

The incident occurred off Greece’s Agathonisi island, which is close to the Turkish coast. The identity and nationality of the victims was not immediately known.

“At least four more [migrants] were unaccounted [for],” a coast guard official told Reuters. Three others were rescued.

Saturday’s incident was thought to be the highest death toll of migrants trying to reach outlying Greek islands in months.

Greek authorities said they believed there were 22 people on the boat. Greek coast guard vessels assisted by two helicopters were searching for more survivors.

“We can’t tolerate losing children in the Aegean Sea ... the solution is to protect people, to implement safe procedures and safe routes for migrants and refugees, to hit the human trafficking circuits,” Greek migration minister Dimitris Vitsas said in a press release.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants flowed into Greece and further west in 2015 from Turkey, making the short but precarious crossing. Hundreds died trying to make it across.

Following a 2016 agreement between the European Union and Turkey, the numbers have diminished.

Under that deal, anyone who arrives on Greek islands must be returned to Turkey unless they qualify for asylum. But procedures can take several months, leading to overcrowded conditions on the islands.

Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in