Greece – At least 16 people were killed when a migrant boat capsized on Christmas Eve on Friday on the Greek island of Baros in the Aegean Sea. This is the third maritime disaster involving a refugee ship in Greek waters since Wednesday, killing at least 30 people, the country’s coast guard said.
Authorities organized an overnight search and rescue operation northwest of Burroughs. The Coast Guard said air and sea resources were stationed in the area.
Greece is one of the EU’s main entry points for migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and beyond, although the flow has slowed since 2015-2016, with more than a million people crossing the country to other EU countries.
The bodies of 12 men, three women and a child have been recovered from the area, the Athens news agency reported.
It is believed that there were eighty people on board the ship that the Coast Guard said had sailed from Turkey to Italy. It is not clear under what circumstances the ship capsized.
Greece’s Minister of Maritime Affairs Gianni Blakiotokis has blamed drug gangs for the disasters.
The mob is “negligent in human life, concentrating dozens of people on boats without life jackets and without meeting the most basic safety standards,” he said in a note.
On Friday morning, Greek authorities said they had recovered 11 bodies from another wreck when a sailing boat carrying migrants capsized on an uninhabited island in southern Greece on Thursday.
A further 90 people were rescued during the operation. The Coast Guard said initial reports indicate that the migrants were also heading to Italy.
That night, between Tuesday and Wednesday, a boat carrying 50 migrants sank off the island of Folechondros, leaving dozens missing.
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