Athens, Oct 31 (EFE) .- The nearly four hundred migrants who have been sailing for several days through the eastern Mediterranean aboard a ship with the Turkish flag and were intercepted on Friday by the Hellenic coast guard, are already in the field of refugees from the Greek island of Kos, the Migration Ministry reported today.
According to the ministry, the 375 people of different nationalities have already settled in the aforementioned camp and their asylum applications are ongoing.
One of the passengers previously disembarked on the island of Karpathos “to receive first aid due to illness” and six others have been detained for questioning, the source added.
“Greece has once again proven that it protects human lives at sea and provides protection, at a time when others are indifferent to their obligations. Congratulations to the Kos registration center staff who worked tirelessly through the night,” said the minister. of Migration, Notis Mitarakis, in a statement.
The intercepted ship east of Crete on Friday was towed to the Hellenic island of Kos after Turkey refused to accept its return.
“Turkey has once again refused to honor its commitments to the EU. It has not accepted the return of a Turkish-flagged ship that sailed from a Turkish port, apparently with the knowledge of the Turkish Coast Guard and remains indifferent to the lives human rights, “Maritime Transport Minister Yannis Plakiotakis said on Saturday.
The minister had previously requested Ankara to accept the return of the ship, and had informed the European Commission accordingly.
Plakiotakis stressed that “Greece shows once again that it fully respects international law and that the protection of maritime borders is combined with the protection of human life.”
The minister’s statements contrast with criticism from the NGO Aegean Boat Report, which monitors the movements of boats with refugees in the Aegean Sea.
According to the NGO, the Greek government has been moving a ship from one place to another for 24 hours, the crew of which have been without access to food, water and medical care for four days.
There are also conflicting accounts of the situation the ship was in when it was found by the coast guard on Friday.
Local media assure that the migrants made a call for help after being stranded by adverse weather conditions for navigation, while the coast guard explained that there was no emergency call, but that they received information about the ship’s route and intercepted it.
(c) EFE Agency