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Europe’s Worst Migrant Boat Disaster – 78 Dead, Hundreds Missing Off Greek Coast

After their fishing boat capsized off the coast of southern Greece, at least 78 people died and more than 100 were rescued. However, survivors claim that more than 750 people...

After their fishing boat capsized off the coast of southern Greece, at least 78 people died and more than 100 were rescued. However, survivors claim that more than 750 people were packed onto the boat, including reports of 100 children in the hold.

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Why In The News?

  • At Least 78 People Have Died And More Than 100 Have Been Rescued After Their Fishing Boat Sank Off Southern Greece. But Survivors Have Suggested As Many As 750 People May Have Been Packed On To The Boat, With Reports Of 100 Children In The Hold.
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What Do We Know?

  • Greece Says It Is One Of Its Biggest Ever Migrant Tragedies And Has Declared Three Days Of Mourning. The Boat Went Down About 80km (50 Miles) South-West Of Pylos After 02:04 On Wednesday Morning Local Time.
  • The EU’s Border Agency Frontex Said It Had Spotted The Boat Early On Tuesday Afternoon And Immediately Told Greek And Italian Authorities. The Coastguard Said Later That No-one On Board Was Wearing Life Jackets.
  • It Said The Greek Shipping Ministry Had Made Repeated Contact With The Boat And Was Told Repeatedly It Simply Wanted To Sail On To Italy. A Maltese-Flagged Ship Provided Food And Water At Around 18:00, And Another Boat Provided Water Three Hours After That.
  • Someone On The Boat Is Said To Have Notified The Greek Coastguard That The Vessel’s Engine Had Malfunctioned. Shortly Afterwards, The Boat Capsized, Taking Only Ten To Fifteen Minutes To Sink Completely. A Search And Rescue Operation Was Triggered But Complicated By Strong Winds.
  • The Boat Is Thought To Have Been Going From Libya To Italy, With Most Of Those On Board Believed To Be Men In Their 20s. They Had Been Travelling For Days, The Boat Had Been Approached By A Maltese Cargo Ship On Tuesday Afternoon That Supplied Food And Water.
  • The Nationalities Of The Victims Have Not Yet Been Announced. Survivors Have Been Taken To Kalamata, And Many Were Treated In the Hospital For Hypothermia Or Minor Injuries. Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou Visited Some Of Those Rescued And Expressed Her Sorrow For Those Who Had Drowned.
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What’s With EU Migration Policy?

  • Each Year, Hundreds Of People Die Trying To Cross The Mediterranean. In February, A Boat Carrying Migrants Capsized Near Cutro, In The Region Of Calabria In Southern Italy, Killing At Least 94 People – One Of The Deadliest Incidents Recorded.
  • Greek Migration Ministry Said Greece Had Repeatedly Called For A “Solid” EU Migration Policy “In Order To Accept People Who Are Really In Need And Not Just The People Who Have The Money To Pay The Smugglers”.
  • Greece Is One Of The Main Routes Into The European Union For Refugees And Migrants From The Middle East, Asia And Africa. Last Month The Greek Govt Came Under International Criticism Over Video Footage Reportedly Showing The Forceful Expulsion Of Migrants Who Were Set Adrift At Sea.
  • More Than 70,000 Refugees And Migrants Have Arrived In Europe’s Front-line Countries This Year, With The Majority Landing In Italy, According to UN Data.
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