A boat trying to cross towards Leros carrying 27 people on December 15th was pushed back by the Hellenic coast guard after being held for two days on the military base on Kalolimnos, her is their testimony.
“It all started at 2 a.m. when a boat with 27 people onboard left the Turkish coast for the Greek island of Leros, initially scheduled for 3 hours, would take 4 days of Hell.
After sailing for more than 7 hours against wind and tide which made the journey difficult, it was at 10 a.m. that the engine stopped less than 15 minutes from Greek soil. Some time later, a Greek fisherman approaches to help us; forced by fear of having his maritime license withdrawn, he called the police; 30 minutes later the first Greek coast guard boat registered ΑΣ-1055 blue with 4 people on board appears, reassuring the fisherman that we will be taken care of and asking us to wait for the arrival of a large boat that can pick us up and take us to the quarantine zone following the current health situation due to covid-19, yet it was a way to free ourselves from the fisherman who until then remains the only civilian witness to our passage in Greece. 40 minutes later, a white and gray boat arrives ΛΣ 608, which takes care of transporting the women and children, giving the impression of heading towards Greek soil, it is from there that the fisherman leaves the premises.
Then, another Orange boat, registered ΑΣ-514 appears to transport the men; together the 2 boats turn around for a unknown destination, once on board, they take charge of stripping us of our bags, money and phones.
After more than an hour of travel when we thought we were going to an isolation center as previously announced, we find ourselves in a military camp called “ΕΦ ΚΑΛΟΛΙΜΝΟΥ”, where we are prohibited from entering and obliged to stay on the edge of sea in inhuman conditions with an extremely cold temperature knowing that we were completely wet and this is where we will spend 2 nights.
During this time, we were treated to 1 dry bread for 4 people, unflavored spaghetti and a 0.5cl bottle of water that he took care of removing the labels and any indicative object (attracting our attention and pushing us to steal one that we will take as proof)
They also brought us used blankets marked with UNHCR asking us not to damage them. We would like to remind you that we were under close surveillance by armed soldiers and some coast guards personnel with names YORO, ALEXANDER, GEORGES. Searching us all the time and for no reason.
It was Thursday, 12/17/2020 around 1 a.m. that we woke up suddenly and demanded to line up as on arrival and forced to board the same boats that previously took us. 2 hours later we were abandoned in the middle of the rough sea in their Orange colored push-back instruments”.
It’s very clear from the statement and the pictures and videos received by Aegean Boat Report what happened, and who was involved, there is no doubt that the people picked up by the Turkish coast guard where the same people who was towed by the Greek fishermen towards Kalymnos, several people are positively identified.
ΕΦ ΚΑΛΟΛΙΜΝΟΥ:ΕΦ Is short for national guard, and kaloliminid/Kalolimnos is a small island north east of Kalimnos, housing a military base.
ΛΣ 1055:Identified as a Mastro Top Gun 864/964 coastal patrol boat belonging to the Hellenic coast guard. They also explained that the boat had two 450HK engines and a crew of 4 people.
ΛΣ 608:Identified as a Lambro 57 coastal patrol boat belonging to the Hellenic coast guard stationed on Leros.
ΛΣ 514:Identified as a Lambro Halmatic 60, belonging to the Hellenic coast guard, and currently stationed on Leros.
They where drifting for hours before the Turkish coast guard picked them up outside Bodrum, Turkey, in the morning of December 17th.
It’s beyond any doubt that what is going on in the Aegean Sea is a crime against humanity, performed by the Hellenic coast guard, on orders from the Greek government. It’s proven without a doubt, in several investigations, that the Hellenic coast guard is behind these illegal pushbacks, but still the Greek government keeps denying any involvement in these atrocities.
So far this year Aegean Boat Report have registered 307 pushback cases involving 9267 people in the Aegean Sea. 2907 people have been picked up floating in 176 life rafts.
Turkish coast guard report on the incident: Muğla Açıklarında 27 Düzensiz Göçmen Kurtarılmıştır (sg.gov.tr)