Just Another Pushback

Friday September 2, Aegean Boat Report published about a sailboat carrying 55 people, 9 women, 1 child and 45 men, that was drifting 27 km south east of Kythira.

The boat was drifting due to lack of fuel, the driver of the boat abandoned them during the night, there were nobody onboard that was trained to sail a boat.

The Greek coast guard had been given all necessary information to initiate a rescue operation, Unfortunately they didn’t, the boat and people, that needed immediate rescue, was left drifting.

People onboard begged for help, there are no rescue boats in the Aegean Sea, anyone in distress in Greek waters fully relies on the Hellenic coast guard, unfortunately they are less willing to help, and when they do, people have a tendency to magically disappear to reappear in life rafts in Turkish waters.

We hoped that the Greek coast guard would do their utmost to rescue people in distress, and take them to a port of safety, this is unfortunately not the case in Greece.

Late at night, on September 2, we lost contact with the boat. Several times we contacted the Greek coast guard, but they told us that they had found no boat in the area.

Saturday September 3 we regained contact with the sailboat, the boat had then drifted 110km, no effort had been taken by the Greek Coast Guard to rescue the 55 people in distress. They told us they had no reception in their phones, most likely because there were no signal this far out in the sea.

During the night a Greek Coast Guard vessel has approached the sailboat four times, two times trying to communicate, but after a while they moved away without trying to rescue them.

The boat was drifting in heavy winds towards the north west of Crete, if nothing was done, they would drift straight to the holiday resort in Lavris, only 25 km away.

From videos received we could clearly see that it was windy, report on 5-6 Beaufort in the area.

People onboard had called the international emergency number 112 numerous times, but nothing was done by the Greek Coast Guard to try to assist the sailboat in distress.

A vessel from the Greek Coast Guard had been following them from a distance, normally people in distress at sea would be rescued after informing rescue services, in Greek waters this is not the case, at least not for refugees.

People onboard the sailboat said, “we are still drifting, nobody comes to help us, they are only watching from a distance, we need help”. The boat was 20 km from Crete, and would reach land in approximately 4 hours.

The boat continued to drift toward land, last information from the boat was in the afternoon on September 3, a vessel with masked and armed men, was approaching the sailboat in high speed, this happened only 12 kilometers from land on Crete, all contact was lost shortly after, contact was never restored.

We feared that the group would not be rescued, masked men carrying weapons isn’t normal in a rescue operation, and we knew that a pushback was imminent.

We contacted the Greek Coast Guard again, to inform on the latest developments, but they told us, as they had before, that no boat was found, and that they had no ongoing operations in the area. When we told them that a boat with armed masked commandos was approaching the boat, they hung up the phone. It’s quite obvious that they knew, they just didn’t want to talk to us about it.

Just after midnight on September 4, the Turkish coast guard found and rescued 58 people from three life rafts drifting outside Datcha, Turkey.

Comparing pictures and videos taken on the sailboat outside Crete, with pictures and video from when they were rescued by the Turkish coast guard, leaves no doubt, it’s the same group.

58 people, men, women and children, was first rescued by the Greek coast guard, then transported, not to a port of safety, but across the Aegean Sea, over 300 km, forced into three life rafts and left helplessly drifting at sea.

This shows that they are willing to go to great lengths, to deny refugees their right to apply for asylum. Greece are showing that they can continue this by all means possible, because Europe is doing nothing to interfere, crimes against humanity blessed by the European Commision.

It’s clear for everyone that the group could not have moved from the north west of Crete to the sea area outside Datch, over 300 km away, by themselves, in life rafts, without any form of engine, someone had to have done this, and who other than the Greek coast guard could possibly be responsible?

Since March 2020, more than 40,000 people have been pushed back in the Aegean Sea by Greek authorities, 860 life rafts have been found drifting, and numbers are rapidly increasing. So far this year, more than 300 rubber boats and 400 life rafts have been found drifting in the Aegean Sea, 15.000 people’s rights have been violated in just eight months.

European values and human rights seem only to apply for Europeans, white Christian people, while the rest are expendable and no longer have any human value. If the EU were serious about It’s values, it would immediately launch infringement proceedings against Greece. The fact that they have done nothing at all, makes it appear that those values means nothing.

Perhaps there is hope after all, thank you Agathonisi

When a boat arrived on the Greek island of Agathonisi yesterday, we feared the worst, people was scared, hiding from authorities in fear of being illegally sent back to Turkey.

After arriving they split up in several smaller groups, some moved quickly away from the area, other stayed in the area hiding in fear of being found by Greek authorities and removed from the island.

A group of 7, 3 men, 2 women and 2 children contacted Aegean Boat Report for assistance, they want to apply for asylum in Greece, but have been pushed back 5 times before, they are scared this will happen also this time.

There has been several groups arriving on Agathonisi lately, non of them have been given the opportunity to apply for asylum, all of them have been illegal removed from the island by Greek coast guard and found themselves drifting in life rafts in the Aegean Sea.

We feared that the same faith awaited this group, and we were given permission from the group to publish their case, in hope that this could make a difference.

The group was moving slowly, small children, one two months and a three year old girl, one of the men needed medical attention, he had thyroid cancer and diabetes, could only walk for 5 minutes at a time.

On social media we urged people to try to intervene, the group desperately needed protection, but under the current circumstances, on this island, we had no possibility to do so, perhaps our prayers were heard.

While walking toward the village they met a local on the road, he couldn’t speak English, but he understood that they needed help, and walked with them toward the village. Another local joined them on the road, and together they met local police further down the road. A kind and unselfish gesture, the kind of behavior I’m all too familiar with, from the start of the refugee crisis back in 2015.

The group of 7 was transported to the port on Agathonisi in a small red car, locals was kind enough to drive them, seeing that some of them had problems walking.

Down in the port the small group was given two rooms, nothing fancy, a balcony, beds and a view over the port, it was more than they expected. This kind of hospitality is a pleasant breath from the past, what used to be, but not anymore.

After a while the rest of their group arrived in the port, at first everyone was staying outside, down in the port, but the most vulnerable, families, children and women, was given a roof over their heads before nightfall.

The group was given sandwiches, water and diapers for the babies, the group felt that they had been taken care of, and was very grateful for the assistance given to try to ensure that they would not be pushed back.

Police had assured the group that they would be taken to the refugee camp on Samos the following day. What happened yesterday came as a very pleasant surprise, local police and the local community had protected the group of vulnerable people. Why this sudden change of tone we don’t know, but that publicity or public pressure had something to do with it I’m certain.

Police first took the phones away from the group, after a while they gave the phones back, and told them to contact Aegean Boat Report and say that everyone was ok, no need to publish more about them on Facebook.

Aegean Boat Report continued to follow the group throughout the night, some was still not sure that everything was ok, and they feared the the Greek police was lying to them, so that they could push them back in the morning. We ensured the group that this was not a very likely outcome, there had been too much attention on their arrival, not only on the island but also on social media.

This morning we could see that everyone had gathered in the port, waiting for the ferry that would take them to the refugee camp on Samos. People was in good spirit, but uncertain on what the future had in store for them, we could se it in their faces.

A Italian tourist, Simona, that had been on Agathonisi on holiday for two weeks, was kind enough to provide the group with food, water and coffee in the port, she also made sure that the babies had something to eat and drink, another kind gesture, very much appreciated by the group. I called her up to thank her for her big heart, we spoke briefly, she was genuinely concerned with their wellbeing, and said this was the least she could do. I’m always touched when encountering this kind of unexpected kindness, this time was no exception.

Also the mayor of Agathonisi, Evaggelos Kottoros, came down to the port to say hello to his new guests on the island, he spoke to several members of the group and seemed genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Perhaps not very surprising that the mayor would look into this case, it’s “his” island, but that he took interest and showed up, tells me that he’s perhaps not in line with the Greek government’s policy on refugee issues, I’m at least hoping he’s not.

Eventually the ferry arrived, all members of the group had received a ticket, it seemed that it finally occurred to them, that they would be taken to safety on Samos, and that they would arrive on Samos on a ferry, as normal people, and not on a rubber boat.

The group entered the ferry after saying goodbye to their short but good acquaintances on Agathonisi, we followed the group, as agreed, on WhatsApp live location. We knew that the ferry would go to Samos, but I was asked to monitor them, and it was the least I could do, if that made them feel more at ease.

One hour later the ferry arrived in the port of Pythagoreio, on the south shores of Samos. The group was escorted to a minibus that would take them to the closed refugee camp on the island.

The last words from the group, “ Now the police on Samos will take us in the minibus, they told us that they will take all our phones, they say we must turn them off and give it to them”, the man seemed confused, he didn’t understand why the police would take their phones.

It’s perhaps news for most of you, but after people arrive, as refugees, the authorities collect all their phones. This is done because they want to go through each and every phone, look at all contents to see if there is anything on the phones that could be incriminating, evidence of contact with Smugler’s etc. All contents, pictures, videos, phone numbers, conversations on messaging applications and call logs are copied, and later carefully examined. This is done in all cases, and not only those who they suspect of criminal activities, even the phones of minors are taken in to be copied. If this is in line with European law, I’m not to sure of, but it’s nevertheless done and has been a regular practice for years. How they treat all this personal sensitive information, we can’t say, this is for the Greek authorities to clarify.

This was a small but important victory, this shows that public pressure can change the outcome of a case, perhaps not always, but sometimes. We can, if given good information from arrivals, publish their case to try to give them some protection, to at least give them a fighting chance.

I would personally like to say thank you to the people that assisted on Agathonisi, it’s like I said, unusual these days to find such kindness played out in the open towards refugees, this is usually done in secret and behind closed doors, in fear of reprisals from Greek authorities and right wing elements in Greece. I clearly remember from the past the big Greek heart, nowadays it seems to be lost, hopefully it will be found again.

For once i could write and publish something that was not all tragic, to show that there is hope for change and a better future, even for refugees in Greece, if this case is a sign of that, I’m not to convinced. This was one case out of thousands, that for once ended better than expected. I’m grateful for all involvement from people who genuinely cares about the wellbeing of our fellow human beings, without you this might have ended differently.

Thank You!

11 people drowned, 7 of them Children, after a pushback performed by Greek authorities

Another disaster in the Aegean, 11 people drowned, 7 of them children, after a pushback performed by Greek authorities.

Yesterday at 00.10 the Turkish coast guard received an email from Greek authorities that a group of people was drifting inside Turkish waters, in need of rescue.

Turkish coast guard found 3 life rafts carrying 66 people, drifting on the coast of Marmaris, north of Rhodes. They later learned, after interviewing the survivors, that a life raft carrying 18 people was missing.

A second rescue operation was launched involving, 1 Coast Guard Helicopter, 1 Coast Guard Aircraft and 3 Coast Guard vessels were immediately dispatched to the scene of the incident.

7 people was found clinging to a semi-submerged life rafts, 6 others was found drowned, amongst them 5 children, two of them infants, and a woman.

The fourth rafts was carrying 18 people, according to survivors, 5 people are missing, two babies and 3 adults, all believed to be drowned. Nationality of the rescued, drowned and missing is not known.

According to the survivors, they initially set off from Lebanon on Saturday for Italy, but ran out of fuel off the coast of Rhodes island. They called the Greek coast guard, that responded to their call for help, but instead of taking them to land, they forced them into four life rafts, and left them drifting close to Turkish territorial waters.

Warning, graphic content

The Greek Coast Guard and the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, was quick to deny any involvement, claiming also this to be Turkish propaganda, an attack on Greece. He pointed out that this happened in Tyrkish waters, and that Turkey should do more to prevent people from leaving the country.

Notis Mitarachi is well aware of his own police, that these four life rafts, killing 11 people, 7 of them small children, was deployed from a Greek Coast Guard vessel, on his orders, still he’s pointing towards Turkey, using also this tragedy for political gain.

There is after years of documentation and investigations by international press, organization and EU bodies, into the pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, no doubt that Greek authorities is responsible, yet they still continues to deny any involvement, as if it haven’t been proven enough, playing everyone for a fool.

European politicians, especially from the European Parliament, seems totally incapable or unwilling to take actions against a member state, that systematically violates international laws and human right in an industrial scale, unprecedented in Europe since the Second World War.

Pushback outside Cesme 14.09.2022

Instead of immediately acting on these atrocities, European politicians are acting deaf blind and dumb, pretending to know nothing and hoping it will blow over, it won’t. Since March 2020 over 40.000 people have been pushed back in the Aegean Sea by Greek authorities, and numbers are rapidly increasing.

For these atrocities the Greek government isn’t condemned, actually quite the opposite. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, cheered them on, calling them “the shield of Europe”, EU funds have been poring into Greece to support their efforts in keeping the borders closed, and Frontex, the European Border and coast guard agency, has the highest number of officers ever deployed, in Greece, supporting the Greek authorities in pushing back refugees.

It’s quite obvious that someone is responsible, and some Greeks are still clinging to the idea that the refugees themselves deliberately did this, to be rescued in Greek waters and taken to land in Europe, or that Turkish authorities are responsible to make Greece look bad in the eyes of the world.

Greek authorities are assuring everyone that they are following international laws, and not pushing back refugees in the Aegean Sea, when it’s obvious for anyone to see, that they are responsible. But still EU is sitting on their hands, letting this continue, even supporting Greece in their crimes. European values and human rights seems only to apply for European, white Christian people, the rest, they are expendable and have no longer any human value.

How many children needs to die before something is done?, yesterday 7 drowned, is that enough?, or do you need pictures as well?, small dead babies, tangled up in ropes from the life raft, the last they knew in this world was the brutality of the Greek coast guard, what would it take to make you act?, how brutal dose it need to be before you wake up?

If EU had been serious about its values, it would immediately launch infringement proceedings agains Greece, this seems not to be the case.

Our deepest condolences to the families and friends who have yet again lost their loved ones at the boarder of Europe, in pursuit of safety.

Pusbacks Continues in Greece, Unchallenged by EU Commission

On September 1, we published about a sailboat carrying approximately 90 people, all from Afghanistan, that was drifting 35km south east of Koroni. Greek authorities claimed they didn’t find them, now we know the truth, they were found and illegally pushed back to Turkey by the Greek coast guard.

The smugler that had been driving the boat had abandoned them during the night, the boat was taking in water, people onboard needed to be rescued.

People onboard had called 112 and provided rescue services with their location, they were told to be patient..

From videos and pictures from the sailboat we can clearly see that the sailboat is dangerously overloaded, approximately 40 men, 30 women and 20 children are onboard.

Some of the men onboard was trying to fix the engine, but without proper tools and spear parts this was close to impossible.

The sailboat was drifting in a busy shipping lane, several ships had passed the drifting sailboat without any efforts to give assistance at sea.

The group expressed that they wanted to apply for asylum in Greece, and that they feared being sent back to Turkey, for then to be deported back to Afghanistan.

Aegean Boay Report can’t do much in cases like this, besides to document and publish their case. In this area Greek coast guard is the only alternative, and if they don’t want to perform the rescue, there exists no others Solution.

Aegean Boat Report also informed the Greek coast guard on this emergency, they reluctantly, and after some persuasion, registered the information, location, number of people and contact number.

The sailboat was drifting throughout the day, no attempts was done from the Greek coast guard to rescue the people in distress, even do they had been informed and given location several times.

Several commercial vessel had passed by the sailboat in the distance, if the Greek authorities had wanted to rescue them, it would not be difficult to find vessels close by to assist.

A Lambro 57 patrol vessel belonging to the Greek coast guard was spotted a few hundred meters from the boat, it stayed there for an hour before moving further away, so we knew that the Greek coast guard had located the boat, even do they claimed not to have found anything.

During the night the sailboat drifted further south east, Aegean Boat Report followed the sailboats movement until 23.00 pm, it then had drifted 30 km south east.

From the boat we received several videos taken outside in the dark, we can see lights in the distance, we assumed that some of these lights was from vessels from the Greek coast guard that was observed earlier that evening.

From a video taken inside the boat, they begged for help, unfortunately no such help arrived. “ The boat is broken, Greek coast guard came and circled around us, but refused to help us. There is about 100-120 people her, children and women, we need help. There is water inside the boat, we are going to drown, the waves are high and we need emergency help”. The number of people he was referring to was not correct, as far as we had been able to confirm there was 83 people onboard the sailboat.

The following day we made inquiries regarding the whereabouts of this group from the drifting sailboat. The Greek coast guard claimed that they found no sailboat in the area, nor any signs of a shipwreck. It’s very strange to claim that they had found no boat, when we have pictures of a vessel from the Hellenic coast guard a few hundred meters from the sailboat, there is no way they didn’t see them. Let’s just say that it’s quite obvious that the headquarters in Pireus was not telling the truth, so what reason did they have to lie, and what really happened to the people on the sailboat?

On September 2, at 16.00, Turkish coast guard found and rescued 83 people from four life rafts drifting outside Karaburun, Turkey, 81 From Afghanistan and 2 from Syria.

The Turkish coast guard had a few hours earlier, been informed by email, that a group of people were drifting in this area, the email came from the Greek coast guard. It is remarkable how the Greek coast guard new that people were drifting in this area, in Greek manufactured life rafts, if they were not responsible. Especially since we can prove, without a doubt, that the same group had been drifting in a sailboat close to Greek mainland the previous day, and that a vessel from the Greek coast guard was present.

Comparing pictures and videos taken on the sailboat outside Koroni, with pictures and video from when they were rescued by the Turkish coast guard, leaves no doubt, it’s the same group.

So the question is, how could this be possible, if this was not the handy-work of the Greek authorities? We have all seen the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Minister for Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, time and time again, deny that Greek authorities are responsible.

In this case 83 people, men, women and children, were rescued by the Greek coast guard, transported not to a port of safety, but across the Aegean Sea, almost 600km, forced into four life rafts and left helplessly drifting at sea.

This shows that they are willing to go to great lengths, to deny refugees their right to apply for asylum. Greece are showing that they can continue this by all means possible, because Europe is doing nothing to interfere, crimes against humanity blessed by the European Commision.

There is only one possible conclusion, the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is blatantly lying, not very reassuring when we are talking about a head of state. He’s not only lying to the Greek people, he is also lying to the European Commission, European and international leaders, international Organizations, the international press and religious leaders, he’s even lying to Pope Francis.

We call upon the international community, including the United Nations, European Union and individual nation states to stand against these shocking and reckless acts, and finally call the current Greek government to account for its disgraceful and illegal behaviour towards innocent men, women and children seeking safety from war, chaos and terror.

Push-backs are happening every single day in the Aegean Sea, and Greece will continue this inhuman practice, systematically violate people’s human rights, until Europe once again decides to put human rights back on the agenda. At the moment everyone is looking the other way, hoping that things will change, without their involvement, it won’t.. At the moment Europe is a disgrace, and embarrassment, against everything we once held highly, we seems to have lost our way, it will forever be a stain on history..

Since March 2020, more than 40,000 people have been pushed back in the Aegean Sea by Greek authorities, 850 life rafts have been found drifting, and numbers are rapidly increasing. So far this year, more than 300 rubber boats and close to 400 life rafts have been found drifting in the Aegean Sea, almost 15.000 people’s rights have been violated in just eight months.

At some point people in charge of this madnes must be held accountable for there actions, this needs to stop!

Never before have so many people been pushed back in the Aegean Sea

On average, 100 people have been found drifting, in life rafts and rubber boats, every single day in August, as a result of pushbacks performed by Greek authorities.

At a time when politicians and journalists have had a fixed focus on the war in Ukraine, energy crisis and Frontex, Greek authorities have taken the opportunity to increase aggression towards refugees at the country’s borders.

Six months ago, Greece was heavily criticized by the international community, for its violations of international laws and human rights, but when people’s attention was drawn elsewhere, and the government took the chance not only to continue, but to substantially increase their efforts. As a result, pushbacks have increased by more than 100 per cent in the Aegean Sea.
European politicians, especially from the European Parliament, seem totally incapable of or unwilling to take actions against a member state, even one which is systematically violating international laws and human rights on an industrial scale, unprecedented in Europe since the Second World War.

Instead of immediately acting on these atrocities, European politicians are acting deaf blind and dumb, pretending to know nothing and hoping it will blow over.

It won’t.

Since March 2020, more than 40,000 people have been pushed back in the Aegean Sea by Greek authorities, 850 life rafts have been found drifting, and numbers are rapidly increasing. So far this year, more than 300 rubber boats and close to 400 life rafts have been found drifting in the Aegean Sea, almost 15.000 people’s rights have been violated in just eight months.

If these boats and life rafts had been filled with white Christian people, there would have been an international outcry, headlines all over the world, and the country responsible would have been heavily sanctioned and forced to stop.

But since people in these boats and rafts are not European, mostly not white, with a different religious view, we don’t give a shit. Is that it? And if so, what does that say about us and our precious European values?
For these atrocities the Greek government are not condemned, actually quite the opposite.

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, cheered them on, calling Greece “the shield of Europe”, EU funds have been pouring into Greece to support them to keep the borders closed, and Frontex, the European Border and coast guard agency, has the highest number of officers ever deployed, in Greece, supporting the Greek authorities in pushing back refugees.

If you say you want to fight crime, you don’t provide criminals with guns, for most people this is quite obvious. The European Commission is on one hand “criticizing” Greece for violating human rights and international laws, and on the other hand providing them with means to continue and escalate: money, personnel and equipment.

This year we have seen an increasing number of life rafts, magically appearing in the waters between Turkey and Greece. In 2020 187 life rafts was found drifting, in 2021 290. So far in 2022, 370 life rafts, carrying more than 6,000 men, women and children, have been picked up by the Turkish coast guard.

It’s quite obvious that someone is responsible, and some Greeks are still clinging to the idea that the refugees themselves deliberately did this, to be rescued in Greek waters and taken to land in Europe, or that Turkish authorities are responsible to make Greece look bad in the eyes of the world.

None of these explanations are very plausible, especially since it has been thoroughly documented and proven that most of the people in these rafts have already been on land on the Greek islands.

And the fact that these rafts don’t have an engine, makes them impossible to use as transportation against Mother Nature, winds and currents.

People arrive on Greek islands, after traveling from Turkey in rubber boats, an increasing number of them are then hunted down and rounded up like cattle, plundered of all their belongings, bags, papers, money and phones, before they are forced back to sea at gunpoint, and left drifting in life rafts in the Aegean Sea.

Only 10 per cent of all people trying to cross by boat towards the Greek islands actually succeeds and ends up in a Greek refugee camp.

We have documented numerous cases where people have been beaten, tortured and raped. Sexual abuse towards both men and women is not uncommon, they are often stripped naked in front of the entire group, the excuse is to search for hidden objects, money and phones.

The Greek officers usually do a particularly thorough job with the females. In front of everyone they are forced to undress, bend over and spread their legs, all cavities are examined with enthusiasm, usually accompanied by abusive language and laughter.

Any woman would find this extremely degrading, and trauma after such abuse will scar them for life. Why Greek officers are behaving like savages towards refugees is for most normal people difficult to understand.

We must emphasize that this behaviour is in most cases not, as far as we have seen, been performed by local police. Riot police and special forces from Athens and the border region in Evros are assigned to “special operations” on the Greek islands. Their main task is to hunt refugees who have just arrived and remove them from Greek territory, on direct orders from the Greek government.
Greek special forces and riot police are known for their brutality, even towards the Greek population. Within these ranks ultranationalism and right-wing ideology flourish, with close ties to Golden Dawn, this can somehow explain their extreme behaviour and brutality towards refugees.

We have seen Greek special forces used as security to Golden Dawn members, members of these elite units attending Neo-Nazi rallies, using ultranationalistic emblems on their uniforms and tattoos, a perfect tool for the current right-wing Greek government.

In some cases, refugees have been found drifting in life rafts without clothes, stripped down to their underwear. There is no sane logical reason to remove people clothes before leaving them drifting in the middle of the sea in a life raft, besides to torment and humiliate people.

We have seen the same being done on the land border in Evros: people are arrested by Greek special forces on Greek side, stripped naked, beaten and forced back over the river to Turkey.

The last time we saw “unwanted people” stripped naked and marched in line in Europe was from the Nazi concentration camps under the Second World War. Perhaps the Greek government is inspired by the past and white supremacy.

Nor are even children spared from their violence. Children are stripped and searched, yelled at, beaten, they are so scared that they can’t hold anything in, sitting in clothes soaked in their own excrement.

There have been cases where children have been too small or too scared to climb down the ladder from the Greek coast guard vessel to life rafts floating several meters below. The Coastguard responded to this fear by throwing them down, like a bag of garbage.

So what drives people to such extreme behaviour towards other human beings? Can it have something to do with the ultra-nationalist wind blowing through Greece, supported by the current right-wing government with close ties to the the neo-nazi organization Golden Dawn?

Life rafts drifting at sea is usually something we see after shipwrecks, and rescue services are then quickly on scene to rescue people in distress.

It’s unusual, in Europe at least, to see a coast guard – supposed to rescue people in distress – instead abandoning people in rescue equipment in the middle of the sea.

It’s a direct violation of international laws and human rights, and also against the laws of the sea. Any sailor knows this, including people in the Greek coast guard, but this is done every single day in the Aegean Sea, without any consequences.

It seems odd that the otherwise righteous European politicians, seem to be indifferent to refugees seeking help at our borders. Does it have something to do with race and religion?

In the normal world, any master of a ship is obliged to try to rescue people in distress at sea. If they don’t, they can be prosecuted and convicted.

But the Greek authorities instead arrest refugees on land, rob them of all their belongings, beat, rape, and otherwise sexually abuse some, before forcing them back to sea and abandoning them in life rafts.

For this, there is no punishment. Officers involved are decorated and promoted for their services to the Greek state, marked as heroes of Greece.

There is something very worrying about the situation in Greece these days. The fascistic tendencies in the current Greek government are impossible to miss.

It seems the Greek people have forgotten their resent history, racial nationalism is on the rise, following a dangerous and horribly familiar pattern.

Greek authorities are assuring everyone that they are following international laws, and not pushing back refugees in the Aegean Sea, when it’s obvious for anyone to see, that they are carrying out pushbacks every day.

And the EU is sitting its hands, letting this continue, even supporting Greece in its crimes.

European values and human rights seem only to apply for European, white Christian people, while the rest are expendable and no longer have any human value.

If the EU were serious about its values, it would immediately launch infringement proceedings against Greece. The fact it has done nothing at all makes it appear that those values mean nothing to it.

Boat In Distress Outside Kythira

A sailboat carrying 55 people, 9 women, 1 child and 45 men, is in distress 27 km south east of Kythira.

The boat is drifting due to lack of fuel, the driver of the boat abandoned them earlier today, there is nobody that are trained to sail a boat onboard.

The Greek coast guard have been given all necessary information to to initiate a rescue operation, if they will is another matter, the boat has been drifting for four hours.

People onboard begs for help, there is no rescue boats in the Aegean Sea, anyone in distress in Greek waters fully relies on the Hellenic coast guard, unfortunately they are less willing to help, and when they do, people have a tendency to magically disappear to reappear in life rafts in Turkish waters.

We hope that the Greek coast guard do their utmost to rescue these people, helplessly drifting, and take them to a port of safety, in Greece.

All contact with the passengers on the sailboat has been lost.

Update 03.09.2022 11.00 am:

Since yesterday the sailboat carrying approximately 55 people has been drifting 110km, so far no effort have been taken from the Greek Coast Guard to rescue the boat in distress. We regained contact with the sailboat this morning, most likely offline due to bad resection this far out to sea.

During the night a Greek Coast Guard vessel has approached the sailboat four times, two times trying to communicate, but after a while they have moved away without trying to rescue them.

The boat is drifting in heavy winds towards the north west of Crete, if nothing is done, they might drift straight to the holiday resort in Lavris, now only 25 km away.

From videos received we can clearly see that it’s windy, report on 5-6 Beaufort in the area.

People onboard have called the internet emergency number 112 numerous times, but so far nothing has been done by the Greek Coast Guard to try to assist the sailboat in distress.

A vessel from the Greek Coast Guard has been following them from a distance, normally people in distress at sea would be rescued after informing rescue services, in Greek waters, this seems not to be the case, at least not for refugees.

The last report from the boat, “we are still drifting, nobody comes to help us, they are only watching from a distance, we need help”. The boat is currently 20 km from land on Crete, it will reach land in approximately 4 hours.

Update 03.09.2022 14.00 pm:

The boat is still drifting, now only 12 km from land an Crete. Latest news from the boat now is that a vessel with masked and armed men is approaching the group.

No footage available and all contact with the sailboat is again lost. We fear that masked men with guns is not a normal rescue operation, rather a pushback in the making.

Sailboat In Distress South East of Koroni

A sailboat carrying approximately 90 people, all from Afghanistan, is currently drifting 35km south east of Koroni.

The boat has lost power on the engine and the person sailing the boat abandoned ship during the night.

Report on water entering the boat has been received. People onboard the sailboat needs to be rescued immediately and taken to a port of safety.

People onboard have called 112 and provided rescue services with their location, they were told to be patient..

From videos and pictures from the sailboat we can clearly see that the sailboat is dangerously overloaded, approximately 40 men, 30 women and 20 children are onboard.

Some of the men onboard is trying to fix the engine, but without proper tools and spear parts this is close to impossible.

The sailboat is drifting in a busy shipping lane, several ships have passed the drifting sailboat without any efforts to give assistance at sea.

The group has expressed that they want to apply for asylum in Greece, and that they fear being sent back to Turkey, for then to be deported back to Afghanistan.

Aegean Boay Report can’t do much in cases like this, besides to document and publish their case. In this area Greek coast guard is the only alternative, and if they don’t want to perform the rescue, there exists no others Solution.

We hope that the Greek coast guard finds and rescue this group, without any further delay, so that they can as soon as possible be taken to a port of safety.

Aegean Boat Report has also informed the Greek coast guard of this emergency, they reluctantly, and after some persuasion, registered the information, location, number of people and contact number.

Update 21.00 pm:

The sailboat is still drifting, so far the Greek coast guard have not started any rescue operation, even do they were informed over five hours ago.

Several commercial vessel have passed by the sailboat in the distance, if the Greek authorities had wanted to rescue them, it would not be difficult to find vessels close by to assist.

Two hours ago a Lambro 57 patrol vessel belonging to the Greek coast guard was spotted a few hundred meters from the boat, it stayed there for an hour before moving further away.

It’s getting dark and the wind and waves are picking up.

Wind direction is south east, that might become a problem during the night, when the sailboat will be drifting towards the cliffs in Gerolimenas 16 km away.

The last 5 hours the boat have drifted 14km, if the wind picks up even further the boat will crash into the cliffs in approximately 5-6 hours, if not rescued by Greek coast guard.

Hopefully it will not come to that, but at night in the dark, wind picking up, makes a rescue operation more challenging.

Update 02.09.22 21.00 pm:

Since last night there has been no contact with the passengers on the sailboat that was drifting outside Koroni.

Aegean Boat Report followed the sailboats movement until 23.00 pm, it then had drifted 30 km south east.

From the boat we received several videos taken outside in the dark, we can see lights in the distance, we assume the some of these lights are from vessels from the Greek coast guard that was observed earlier this evening.

From a video taken inside the boat last night, they beg for help, unfortunately no such help arrived. “ The boat is broken, Greek coast guard came and circled around us, but refused to help us. There is about 100-120 people her, children and women, we need help. There is water inside the boat, we are going to drown, the waves are high and we need emergency help”. The number of people he is referring to is not correct, as far as we have been able to confirm there were 87 people onboard this sailboat.

We have made inquiries regarding the whereabouts of this group from the drifting sailboat. The Greek coast guard claims that they found no sailboat in the area, nor any signs of a shipwreck. It’s very strange to claim that they have found no boat, when we have pictures of a vessel from the Hellenic coast guard a few hundred meters from the sailboat, there is no way they didn’t see them. Let’s just say that it’s quite obvious that the headquarters in Pireus is not telling the truth, so what reason do they have to lie?

We have just managed to confirm, from relatives and friends of the passengers from the sailboat, that the group are now back in Turkey. Turkish coast guard also confirmed that they found and rescued 87 people from 3 life rafts drifting in the Aegean Sea.

The Greek coast guard found and rescued 87 people from a sailboat drifting deep inside Greek waters, transported them not to a port of safety, but over 500km towards Turkish waters, and left them drifting in 3 life rafts. It was reported that there were at least 20 small children in the group.

More information on this case will be published on Aegean Boat Report, when we have finished the investigation and gathered more documentation.

So Let’s be very clear, again, Mr Mitsotakis, you are most definitely lying

In the early hours of August 17, a boat carrying 21 people, Palestinian families, arrived on the south west side of Agathonisi.

While they group still was disembarking from the boat, a fisherman arrived in a blue fishing boat. They claim that the fishermen sat fire to their boat, if this is true, or they did it themselves, and for what reason, we haven’t been able to find out, but the boat is on fire, this there is no doubt about.

After arriving they started climbing up the steep hills in the area, trying to get to hire ground to be able to navigate. At this point they contacted Aegean Boat Report for assistance.

The group provided pictures, videos and location data, there was no doubt that the group had arrived on Agathonisi.

One member in the group, a man, had fallen and hurt his back, in the video we can see him in what appears to be in grave pain. We learned later that he had a fraction in his spine after his fall.

Agathonisi is a small island in the northern part of the Dodecanese, only approximately 185 people live on this island, and there is no humanitarian organization present. The solution for this group, as advised by Aegean Boat Report, was to move to the nearest village and ask for assistance, if there were any medical emergencies they should immediately call 112.

After a while, after great efforts on our behalf, they agreed on walking towards the nearest village, in their case the village of Mikro Chorio, a few kilometers away.

While walking they made several videos to document their presence on the island, we can clearly see the pier in the port of Agios Georgios, the only harbor on the island.

Whit only basic tools like Google Maps and Google Earth, we can without any difficulties confirm, that the pictures and videos were taken south west of the harbor in Agios Georgios.

In another video we can clearly see a Greek coast guard vessel close to land, ΛΣ-612, a Lambro 57 coastal patrol vessel belonging to the Hellenic coast guard, stationed on Agathonisi. The coast guard had been alerted by the local fishermen, and was in the area to try to locate the new arrivals.

The group walked, not as we agreed to the village of Mikro Chorio, but down to port in Agios Giorgos, the time was 12.50 pm. Her they were observed and talked to several locals. Since coast guard already had arrived in port and notified local police, the group was immediately apprehended by police, time was 12.55.

The group was scared, they feared that they would be pushed back to Turkey, and sent several messages.

“Greek intelligence came to us and they will throw us a basket in the sea. Please help. Please, we have children”

“Please, please, help us, they will throw a basket into the sea, and we have sick children with us”

“We are in danger, we do not want them to throw us into the sea, we have children who are breastfed”

Last message from the group was a voice message at 13.39 pm, after this there were no response.

While we still had contact with the group on Agathonisi, local police told them that the coast guard would take them to the refugee camp on Leros, since there were no camps on Agathonisi. Later we learned that nobody had been taken to Leros this day, nor the following day.

Several locals in Agios Giorgos observed while the group of 21 people, some of them small children, were escorted onboard the vessel from the Greek coast guard, and taken back out to sea. Locals believed everything was in order, as coast guard also had explained to them, the refugees would be taken to Leros, unfortunately the coast guard and local police had lied, both to the refugees and the locals.

Onboard the coast guard vessel all belongings, bags, money, papers and phones was taken by the Greek coast guard officers. People were searched thoroughly, but one phone was hidden in a place they didn’t think of looking. The owner of the phone didn’t dare to take it out and use it, not before the Greek coast guard was out of sight. A video was then sent to Aegean Boat Report, from a life raft drifting outside Dikili, Turkey, it was sent by the same person who only a few hours earlier, had sent videos from Agathonisi.

At 17.25 pm Turkish coast guard found and rescued 21 people, all Palestinians, some of them small children, from a life raft drifting outside Didim, Turkey, 26 km from Agathonisi.

The Turkish coast guard had one hour earlier, been informed by email, that a group of people were drifting in this area, the email came from the Greek coast guard. It is remarkable how the Greek coast guard new that people were drifting in this area, in a Greek manufactured life raft, if they were not responsible. Especially since we can prove, without a doubt, that the same group had been on Agathonisi a few hours earlier, together with members of the Greek coast guard.

Comparing pictures and videos taken on Agathonisi, with the video from the life raft, and pictures and video from when they were rescued by the Turkish coast guard, leaves no doubt, it’s the same group that arrived on Agathonisi earlier this morning.

So the question is, how could this be possible, if this was not the handy-work of the Greek authorities? We have all seen the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Minister for Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, time and time again, deny that Greek authorities are responsible.

There is only one possible conclusion, that is that the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is blatantly lying, not very reassuring when we are talking about a head of state. He’s not only lying to the Greek people, he is also lying to the European Commission, European and international leaders, international Organizations, the international press and religious leaders, he’s even lying to Pope Francis.

We call upon the international community, including the United Nations, European Union and individual nation states to stand against these shocking and reckless acts, and finally call the current Greek government to account for its disgraceful and illegal behaviour towards innocent men, women and children seeking safety from war, chaos and terror.

Push-backs are happening every single day in the Aegean Sea, and Greece will continue this inhuman practice, systematically violate people’s human rights, until Europe once again decides to put human rights back on the agenda. At the moment everyone is looking the other way, hoping that things will change, without their involvement, it won’t.. At the moment Europe is a disgrace, and embarrassment, against everything we once held highly, we seems to have lost our way, it will forever be a stain on history..

At some point people in charge of this madnes must be held accountable for there actions, this needs to stop!

Boat carrying 85 people in distress south west of Zakynthos, 30 of them children

A sailboat carrying approximately 85 people in distress 26 miles south west of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea, amongst them over 30 children.

The group has been traveling for over four days, and was heading towards Italy when the engine broke down earlier today, and the captain abandon the boat.

Now the boat is helplessly drifting, wind and current is pushing the boat further out in the Ionian Sea, away from land, they desperately needs to be rescued.

Several people have contacted the Greek coast guard regarding this boat, also the people from the boat. Location, contact number, number of people and situation onboard have been provided.

So far the coast guard has not arrived on location, lights can be seen in the distance, but this could possibly be other boats in the area. People onboard had also called 112 several times.

People who have called coast guard to inform them on this emergency are given the same answer, that they are informed and has boats in the area, so far no boats have arrived on location.

The group has expressed that they want to apply for asylum in Greece, and that they fear being sent back to Turkey, for then to be deported back to Iran.

Most of the people onboard are Iranian Kurds, many politicians they explain, to be deported back to Iran would be a clear death sentence.

Aegean Boay Report can’t do much in cases like this, besides to document and publish their case. In this area Greek coast guard is the only alternative, and if they don’t want to perform the rescue, there exists no others Solution.

We hope that the Greek coast guard finds and rescue this group, without any further delay, so that they can as soon as possible be taken to a port of safety.

Update 26.08.2022 10.00 am

During the night people onboard have tried to rest, it’s difficult to relax under these circumstances, not knowing what will become of them.

This morning the sailboat is still drifting, so far no effort has been done by the Greek coast guard to assist or rescue the boat in distress in Greek waters.

In the distance we can clearly see a coast guard vessel, but they are not approaching the sailboat.

People onboard is waiting and hoping that the Greek coast guard will eventually rescue them, several calls has been made to Greek emergency services 112, the only response has been that they have told the group to be patient.

The group are running out of food and water, if this drags out much longer, children will have nothing more to eat or drink.

A coast guard vessel are closing in, but so far only circling the sailboat from a distance, for so to move away again, why Greek authorities do not initiate a rescue operation is so far unknown.

The Greek coast guard is well aware of the situation, and are present with at least two vessel. One bigger coast guard ship we can see in the distance, and a smaller one, a Lambro 57 Coastal Patrol vessel ΛΣ-143, beloning to the Hellenic Coast Guard, circling the sailboat.

We fear the the Greek authorities are considering pushing these people back to Turkey, let’s remind the Greek authorities of their duties according to international law and the law of the sea.

Rescue of people in distress at sea, regardless of their nationality or status, is an unconditional obligation for all ships in vicinity and coastal state authorities. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS Convention) provides that:“ Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew or the passengers: (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost; (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such action may reasonably be expected of him.” (Art. 98 (1))
Furthermore, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea imposes an obligation on every coastal State Party to:

“…promote the establishment, operation and maintenance of an adequate and effective search and rescue service regarding safety on and over the sea and, where circumstances so require, by way of mutual regional arrangements, co-operate with neighbouring States for this purpose”. (Art. 98 (2))
The Guidelines on the Treatment of Persons Rescued at Sea (adopted in May 2004 by the Maritime Safety Committee together with the SAR and SOLAS amendments) contain the following provisions:
“The government responsible for the SAR region in which survivors were recovered is responsible for providing a place of safety or ensuring that such a place of safety is provided.” (Resolution MSC.167(78), para. 2.5).

Update 26.08.2022 17.00 pm:

The sailboat carrying approximately 85 people is still drifting in the same area, Greek coast guard have still made any effort to rescue the people in distress.

Two men is seen in a video using a small rubber boat trying to go for help, but we do not believe this is remotely possible, since the distance to Zakynthos is now close to 30 miles.

From videos we can see that people onboard seems to be, under the circumstances, doing better than expected. But they say that they have no more food and water, and can not stay at see much longer.

In a voice message sent to Aegean Boat Report from one of the passengers on the sailboat, she confirms that they have no more food and water, and that people onboard are very worried about what will happen to them. She asks again that they need to be rescued, so far Greek authorities do not listen.

The sailboat has now been drifting for almost 20 hours, equally long the Greek authorities has refused to rescue a boat in distress carrying 85 people, men women and children, who now is facing another night at sea, drifting in the dark.

Update 26.08.2022 19.30 pm:

Just now a vessel, a Lambro 57 belonging to he Hellenic coast guard arrived, people say people onboard the coast guard vessel started taking pictures of them, for what reason we don’t know.

Food and water has been provided by the coast guard, what the next steps will be is so far not clear. Hopefully they will be transferred to a larger coast guard vessel and taken to a port of safety.

A large tanker has pulled up next to the sailboat, it seems like the Greek coast guard is going to use this tanker to transfer the group to port, question will then be what port.

The vessel is identified as the Antigua and Barbuda registered Bulk Carrier HC Jana Rosa, traveling from Alexandria, Egypt to Split in Croatia.

People from the sailboat now confirmed that everyone has been taken onboard the Jana Rosa, what port they will disembark in is so far unknown.

Update 26.08.2022 20.30 pm:

People onboard just informed us that the tanker Jana Rosa will be taking them to Athens, and that they will need to stay on this tanker for 11 hours.

The tanker will then have to deviate from its original route, that was Split in Croatia, to get the rescued passengers to Athens.

Aegean Boat Report is revealed that this group finally was rescued, and will be taken to a port of safety. We will be following the movement of the Jana Rosa until it docks in Athens.

Update 27.08.2022 01.30 am:

After days at sea in uncertainty on what their faith would be, if they this time would reach Europe, the group is finally safe. They know now for sure that they will not be pushed back to Turkey, they will be able to apply for asylum.

After boarding the Jana Rosa, the crew has been amazing. Everyone was provided with food, some even got beds to sleep in, hospitality that was received with great gratitude.

It’s remarkable that something many of us take for granted, to be rescued at see if in distress, be taken care of by our rescuers, seems like a gift from heaven for this group. Everyone is revealed, many trying to contact their loved ones on the phone to give them the good news.

We take out human rights and international laws for granted, but yet we fail to provide this to the most vulnerable people showing up at our doorstep, asking for protection.

The group are on the way to Kalamáta, and will be in port 06.00

Their journey and struggles in Europe has just begun, but we have at least given them a fighting chance.

Just Another Pushback

Monday August 15 a group of 9 people contacted Aegean Boat Report for assistance, after they had arrived on Leros the previous day.

The group sent pictures from their hideout on Leros, in an old abandoned building in a remote area of the island. Most likely locals on Leros could recognize the building from the pictures.

To arrive in Europe and have to hide from authorities in fear of being beaten and left drifting in life rafts, sounds crazy for most of us, Europe is more civilized than that, well it’s not, not in Greece anyway.

Unfortunately contact was lost with the group before we were able to provide any assistance, and the small group of people magically disappeared from Leros.

We assumed that the group had been found by Greek authorities, and removed from the island as so many before them, and a few days later this was confirmed.

On August 16, at 05.50, a life rafts was found drifting outside Didim, Turkey, carrying 9 people.

When we compare pictures sent from the group on Leros, to the pictures and videos from when the Turkish coast guard found them drifting outside Didim, there isn’t much doubt, it’s the same group.

A video testimony on what happened was recorded by Turkish authorities after they had been taken to port, her he describes that they took all their belongings, and even beat them.

We don’t know much about this group, and we probably never will, but we can at least publish their story, to show what happened to them by the hand of the Greek authorities, we at least ow them that much.

40.000 people have been pushed back in the Aegean Sea alone by Greek authorities, many left drifting in life rafts after being arrested on Greek islands. It’s a direct violation of international laws and human rights, so far nothing has been done by the European Commission to stop these crimes against humanity.