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December 27, 2021

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16 refugees die in Greek boat tragedy

At least 16 people died when their boat overturned off the Greek island of Paros in the central Aegean Sea on Friday, in the third maritime disaster involving migrants this week, the country’s coastguard said.

Authorities scrambled a search and rescue operation northwest of Paros. Air and sea assets were deployed.

Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union for migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and beyond, although the flow has tapered off since 2015-2016, when more than a million people traversed the country to other EU states.

Greece’s semi-official Athens News Agency said the bodies of 12 men, three women and a child were recovered. Eighty people were believed to have been on the vessel, which the coastguard said was headed for Italy from Turkey.

Details of the capsize were unclear. Greece’s shipping minister Giannis Plakiotakis said that trafficking gangs were responsible for the disasters.

The gangs “are indifferent to human life, stacking dozens of people, without lifejackets, in vessels which do not conform to the most basic of safety standards,” he said.


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