Greece: 14 dead from suspected migrant boat sinking

Elias Hubbard
March 17, 2018

Greece's coast guard said the bodies of 14 people have been recovered from the sea off a Greek island in the eastern Aegean following the sinking of a suspected migrant smuggling boat.

The boat, with about twenty migrants and refugees on board, had just set out from the Turkish mainland when it overturned off the Greek island of Agathonisi.

Frontex said last month that in 2017, the European Union saw the lowest number of detected illegal border-crossings since the migrant crisis began four years ago.

Initially, the bodies of four children, one man and one woman were recovered off the island of Agathonisi, south of the island of Samos, the coast guard said.

The search and rescue mission for those missing included private boats, three aircraft, a European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) vessel, as well as Hellenic Navy and Coast Guard vessels.

A two-year deal between the European Union and Turkey was created to stop the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe using the popular route from the Turkish coast to the nearby Greek Islands.

The EU previous year reached deal with Turkey in 2016, which sharply reduced the number of people crossing to Greece.

The number dwindled to 204,700 from 1.8 million in 2015, it said.

It has been criticised by humanitarian workers as it stipulates that all arrivals will be sent back to Turkey, including Syrian refugees.

More than 60,000 refugees and migrants have been stranded in Greece since the start of the EU-Turkey agreement aimed to curb the flows.

But these have stalled due to Brussels charges that Ankara has committed massive human rights violations in the wake of a failed coup in July 2016.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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