Greece Shipwreck Feared To Have Claimed Lives Of Hundreds
The Greece shipwreck feared to have claimed lives of hundredshas already claimed the lives of at least 78 migrants, with fears growing that the death toll may rise significantly. The overloaded boat, carrying an estimated 400 to 750 people, capsized and sank in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the deep waters near the southern coastal town of Pylos.
As rescue operations continue, hopes of finding more survivors are fading, and the focus has shifted to the grim task of recovering bodies from one of the Mediterranean's deepest areas.
Eyewitness reports reveal that the tragedy could have been averted if assistance had been accepted earlier. Greek authorities confirm that a coast guard boat had been shadowing the vessel and repeatedly offered help as it struggled. However, those aboard the crowded outer deck declined, insisting on reaching Italy.
Nikos Alexiou, a spokesperson for the Greek coast guard, explained the challenges faced in such situations.
You cannot carry out a violent diversion on such a vessel with so many people on board... without any sort of cooperation.- Nikos Alexiou
The exact number of people on board remains unclear, as authorities are investigating reports from a European rescue support charity that suggest up to 750 individuals were crammed into the 20 to 30-meter-long fishing boat.
With the revised death toll at 78, the urgency to locate any potential survivors trapped in the vessel's hold intensifies. The search operation, although hampered by the depth of the water, continues relentlessly, with the Greek coast guard committed to maintaining efforts for as long as necessary.
Maria Clara, the UNHCR representative in Greece, described the shipwreck as one of the largest sea tragedies in recent memory and called upon Mediterranean states to establish a more effective search and rescue regime along with safer migration routes. Pope Francis expressed his deep dismay at the loss of life, echoing the urgent need for increased rescue efforts.
Greece shipwreck: Latest tragedy in Europe's migrant crisis • FRANCE 24 English
This devastating incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by migrants attempting to reach Europe. Greece, being one of the main entry points into the European Union, has witnessed a steady influx of refugees and migrants from various regions.
However, under the conservative government that recently held power, the country adopted stricter migration policies, including fortified camps and strengthened border controls.
Alexis Tsipras, the leftist leader and former prime minister during Europe's migration crisis, blamed Europe's migration policy for the tragedy. During a visit to the Kalamata port, Tsipras emphasized the need for Europe to reassess its approach.
The immigration policy that Europe has been following for years... turns the Mediterranean, our seas, into watery graves.- Alexis Tsipras
The Mediterranean route remains one of the most perilous journeys for migrants and refugees fleeing conflict, persecution, and poverty. Since 2014, more than 20,000 deaths and disappearances have been recorded in the central Mediterranean, making it the world's deadliest migrant crossing.
The ongoing instability in Libya, coupled with people-smuggling networks operated by military factions controlling coastal areas, contributes to the high number of attempted sea crossings from the region.
As the search and recovery efforts persist, the tragic shipwreck off Greece serves as a somber reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive and coordinated international action to address the humanitarian crisis and prevent further loss of life in the perilous journey of migrants and refugees across the Mediterranean.