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Bad suspicion – new details on refugee boat drama in Greece

Bad suspicion – new details on refugee boat drama in Greece

19.06.2023, 12:4719.06.2023, 13:43

Last week, a refugee boat carrying 500 to 700 people sank off the coast of Greece. Only 100 of them could be saved. That much is known.

What is unknown: How did this happen? And who is responsible? Now new suspicions and allegations have arisen.

What happened on the ship?Build: Keystone

Chronology

  • Tuesday, 8 am: Frontex locates the refugee boat and reports it to the Greek Coast Guard.
  • 12:17 PM: An emergency call was received by an NGO that the ship was in trouble.
  • 3:35 pm: A Greek Coast Guard rescue helicopter located the refugee boat.
  • 23 hrs: The Coast Guard arrived at the refugee boat.
  • Wednesday, 1:47 am: The refugee boat sank.

Is the Coast Guard lying?

die The BBC took a closer look at radar data from the crash site – and discovered something strange.

Because images of the movement of ships in the area at the time of the accident contradict reports from the Greek Coast Guard. The refugees were recorded as having contacted the boat several times and always refused to offer any assistance. It was functional and a curriculum for Italy.

However, according to the BBC, operational data showed that several ships in the immediate vicinity of the refugee boat made sudden course changes and came to the aid of the refugees. It was from 3 pm to 6 pm. The Greek Coast Guard asked them to provide water and food to people in need.

These ships always arrive at roughly the same spot for several hours – so the refugee boat barely moves. It shows that it was already disabled by then. According to the Coast Guard, the boat was moving smoothly until 10:40 p.m.

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A nasty suspicion

Are the Greek authorities telling the truth? Or do they adopt a strategy of consciously accepting such events? At least that’s what German refugee researcher Maurice Stierl suggests.

FILE - Migrants arrive in a dinghy with the Frontex ship in the village of Skala Sigaminias on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on February 28, 2020.  Eur...

Refugees near Lesbos (archive image).Build: Keystone

It is said:

“European countries have managed to create delays in deploying at sea. They are actively disappearing even from migrant boats so they don’t engage in rescue operations. You can see that a strategy has been devised to seriously and deliberately slow down the rescue.”

The Coast Guard disagreed

The Greek newspaper “Kathimerini” published on Sunday a copy of the report given by the commander of patrol boat 920 to his superiors. As a result, two hours before the accident, the captain offered assistance to the completely overcrowded fishing cutter – but it was rejected from there.

epa10691107 A handout photo provided by the Hellenic Coast Guard on 14 June 2023 shows a fishing vessel carrying a large number of migrants in international waters near the western Peloponnese ...

One of the last views of the refugee boatBuild: Keystone

According to the report, at around 3:00 pm on Tuesday, the captain and his crew were informed about the stricken boat by the Maritime Search and Rescue Center in Phrae, Greece. The patrol boat immediately left for the area. The cutter was reportedly found around 11 p.m. The Coast Guard then approached the boat to a distance of about 200 meters and rendered assistance.

“We approached the vessel to check the condition of the vessel and the passengers and to render assistance again,” the newspaper quoted the unnamed captain as saying. Officers then attached the rope to the ship’s bow. However, calls like “No Help” and “Go Italy” could be heard from the board – no help needed, destination Italy. “Despite repeated appeals that they needed help, they ignored us and untied the rope around 11:57 p.m. They started the engine and headed west at low speed.”

The patrol boat then informed the search and rescue center and followed the boat 200 meters away, the captain said. The cutter stopped again at 1.40 am. Then the boat slowly tilted. There was commotion among the passengers and screams were heard. But, within a minute, the boat capsized.

Pakistanis, children and women in bows

Meanwhile, several statements from rescued fugitives aboard the ship have been made public. Astonishingly, except for women and children, all migrants of Pakistani origin were crammed below deck.

epa10699578 Pakistani national flag flies at half-mast, Pakistan 'Day of Mourning' Dozens killed in Peshawar, Pakistan, June 19, when a Greek ferry crashed.

Flag at half mast in PakistanBuild: Keystone

Only a handful of those rescued were Pakistanis – but the dead could be as many as 400. According to British media, Pakistanis were treated badly by the smugglers. If they ask for water, they misbehave.

According to the report, the women and children were locked below deck to protect them from the men traveling with them. No woman or child survived the accident.

Conditions on the ship were deplorable before the disaster. According to the Guardian, there have been six deaths due to lack of water supply.

(AG)

A boat carrying 120 passengers caught fire

Video: Watson

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