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Home World News Washington Post World News Greece: Boat with hundreds of migrants safely towed to port

Greece: Boat with hundreds of migrants safely towed to port

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ATHENS, Greece – A fishing boat crammed with hundreds of migrants who lost control and were drifting in the Mediterranean Sea south of the Greek island of Crete has been successfully towed to port, Greek authorities said on Tuesday.

The exact number of people on board was not immediately clear because the passengers had not yet disembarked, the Coast Guard said. Passengers who made an emergency call during the night told Greek authorities that the boat was carrying about 400 to 500 people.

The coastguard launched a major rescue operation after receiving the distress call, which said the ship had lost steering and was drifting in rough seas off the coast of southeastern Crete.

A Greek naval frigate, a tanker, two freighters and two Italian fishing vessels took part in the rescue operation, but were unable to transfer passengers from the ship due to bad weather.

The fishing boat was towed to the port of Palaiochora in southeastern Crete, where it arrived in the early afternoon. There were no immediate reports of injuries or missing persons.

It was not immediately known where the boat with the migrants had departed from, what the destination was or what the nationalities of those on board were.

Each year, tens of thousands of people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa try to enter the European Union through perilous sea voyages, with most trying to reach Greece from neighboring Turkey or via a longer route to Italy.



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