Greece: No Survivors Found After Migrant Boat Sinks, Hundreds Still Missing

by Madison Thomas
Greek shipwreck

After a migrant boat sank off the coast of southern Greece, rescue workers have transferred the bodies of deceased migrants to refrigerated trucks. A major search operation is underway to find any potential survivors, as hundreds of people are still feared missing.

The fishing boat, overcrowded with migrants attempting to reach Italy from Libya, capsized and sank in deep waters off the Greek coast. So far, 78 bodies have been recovered from the incident. The rescued passengers, consisting of Egyptians, Syrians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Palestinians, and eight minors, amount to 104 individuals. However, authorities are concerned that hundreds of others may have been trapped below deck, which would make this tragedy one of the worst recorded in the central Mediterranean.

Following an overnight count of the bodies, the confirmed death toll was revised from 79. Erasmia Roumana, the head of a United Nations Refugee Agency delegation, expressed that the survivors are currently in a state of shock and emphasized their desire to contact their families and inquire about the missing individuals.

In response to the sinking, Greece has declared three days of mourning, and political campaigning for the upcoming general election on June 25 has been suspended. The Supreme Court prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, expressed deep sadness about the tragedy and pledged to enhance cooperation between the European Union and neighboring countries to combat migrant smugglers.

However, human rights organizations argue that such crackdowns compel migrants and refugees to undertake longer and riskier routes in their quest to reach safe countries.

The search operation in Greece’s Peloponnese region, conducted south of the country, has yielded no additional bodies or survivors as of early Thursday. Retired Greek coast guard admiral Nikos Spanos stated that the chances of finding more survivors are minimal and described the old fishing boats used for migration as “floating coffins.”

Coast guard experts speculate that the boat may have sunk due to fuel depletion or engine malfunction, with the movement of passengers within the vessel leading to its listing and eventual capsizing. An aerial photograph released by Greek authorities before the sinking depicted people crowded on the deck, most of whom were not wearing life jackets.

Gianluca Rocco, the head of the Greek section of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), referred to the incident as one of the Mediterranean’s biggest tragedies, echoing the devastating numbers reported by authorities. According to the IOM, over 21,000 deaths and disappearances have occurred in the central Mediterranean since 2014.

The Greek coast guard was alerted by Italian authorities about the trawler’s presence in international waters. Despite efforts by Greek ships and merchant vessels to provide assistance, the boat’s occupants repeatedly declined help, insisting on continuing their journey to Italy.

Among the survivors in southern Greece, 29 individuals remain hospitalized primarily due to hypothermia symptoms, while eight have been questioned by coast guard investigators. The survivors will be relocated to a migrant shelter near Athens in the coming days.

The deceased migrants’ bodies were transported to a morgue outside Athens, where DNA samples and facial photographs will be collected to initiate the identification process. Health officials confirmed that the embassies of the countries involved would assist in the process.

Given its proximity to the deepest part of the Mediterranean Sea, search efforts to locate the sunken vessel could be hindered by depths of up to 17,000 feet (5,200 meters).

Initial reports from the IOM indicated that up to 400 people may have been onboard. Additionally, a network of activists received a distress call from a boat in the same area, claiming it carried 750 individuals.

The Mediterranean’s deadliest shipwreck in recent history occurred on April 18, 2015, when an overcrowded fishing boat collided with a freighter off Libya while attempting to rescue the migrants. Only 28 people survived, and forensic experts determined that the original count of individuals on board was 1,100.

This report was filed by Paphitis in Athens, Greece. Renata Brito, a writer for Big Big News based in Barcelona, Spain, contributed to this report.

For the latest news on global migration, visit https://bigbignews.net/migration

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about migrant boat tragedy

What happened in Greece regarding the migrant boat?

A fishing boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of southern Greece, resulting in a tragic incident. The boat capsized and sank, leading to the loss of many lives and leaving hundreds of people missing.

How many bodies have been recovered so far?

As of now, 78 bodies have been recovered from the incident.

Were there any survivors?

Yes, rescue efforts managed to save 104 passengers from the sinking boat. These survivors, consisting of individuals from various nationalities, are receiving medical attention and support.

What caused the boat to sink?

The boat may have sunk due to reasons such as fuel depletion or engine malfunction. The movement of passengers inside the vessel possibly caused it to list and eventually capsize.

What is the response from authorities and international organizations?

Greece has declared three days of mourning, and a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy has been initiated. The President of the European Commission has expressed sadness and pledged to strengthen cooperation to combat migrant smugglers. Human rights organizations highlight concerns about the impact of crackdowns on migrants and refugees, as it pushes them towards riskier routes.

How deep is the area where the boat sank?

The area where the boat sank is close to the deepest part of the Mediterranean Sea, with depths reaching up to 17,000 feet (5,200 meters). This poses challenges for search and recovery operations.

How does this incident compare to previous migrant shipwrecks?

This incident is considered one of the worst-ever recorded in the central Mediterranean. While the exact number of missing individuals is still uncertain, the tragedy has garnered significant attention due to its magnitude and the potential loss of life.

More about migrant boat tragedy

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ConcernedCitizen June 15, 2023 - 2:48 pm

what a terrible situation! how can we prevent such disasters from happening again? we need better coordination, safer migration options, and stronger international cooperation. let’s find solutions and save lives. #MigrationCrisis

MigrantAdvocate June 16, 2023 - 5:20 am

this is such a devastating reminder of the risks migrants face in search of safety. crackdowns on smuggling can push ppl onto more dangerous routes. we need more humane solutions to address the refugee crisis. #HumanRights

InTheKnow June 16, 2023 - 9:10 am

the Mediterranean has become a graveyard for so many desperate souls. we must raise awareness, hold governments accountable, and find compassionate solutions. every life lost is a failure of our collective humanity. #RefugeeRights


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