On Sunday morning, October 17, a boat reported to be carrying 23 people, 14 men, 4 women and 5 children landed west of Armenistis, Ikaria north west.
The new arrivals contacted several organizations to make their presence known, pictures, videos and location data was received, and local media was contacted.
Local residents, that arrived in the area after being informed of their presence, provided water, food and hygiene items to the new arrivals
Port police arrived with two boats and a car in the area, and reported to have found 21 people in Armenistis, after being informed by locals. Two people seems to be missing, police was informed by the new arrivals that not all people that arrived was amongst the 21 found.
A Nissan Terrano and a Rafnar Leiftur 1100 Cabin Patrol boat, belonging to the port authority on Ikaria is photographed by a local in the port of Armenistis. The locals witnessed that at least 21 people was taken onboard before the boat drove away. Several people can be seen in front of the boat, but if we look closely, we can also see that there are men in dark uniforms wearing balaclavas. The orginal picture will have a better resolution, hopfully it will be given to the Greek press.
The boat that transported the refugees from Armenistis, is a Leiftur 1100 Cabin Patrol boat from Rafnar, one of ten boats in Greek Coast Guards possession, stationed on Ikaria, Alexandroupoli, Kastelorizo, Lemnos, Mount Athos, Chios, Mytilene, Kalymnos, Kos and Samos.
This tiny pice of information, the masked men, was overlooked at that time, because everyone assumed that the coast guard would only transfer them to a camp on Samos, this is at least what they told them. This did unfortunately and shockingly not happen.
According to local news, 21 people boarded a vessel from the Hellenic coast guard in Agios Kirikos, local authorities informed that they would be transferred to Samos. This was the information given to journalists at that stage, one day later the info from the local port police had changed, there was no incident on Ikaria.
Police on Ikaria had been searching for the two people missing from this landing, it seems they found only one of them, because 22 people were transported by a vessel from the Hellenic coast guard from Agios Kirikos.
Locals was informed through social media publications of their presence, and went to the area to assist. Local press was informed, and published the news together with pictures that had been provided to them.
A text book example on how to provide enough public attention, so that local port police couldn’t follow orders from the Greek government, to push them back, so everyone believed at least, no arrivals from Ikaria was ever registered on Samos.
Everyone assumed, also the locals who had helped them, NGOs and journalists involved, that the new arrivals on Ikaria was going to be taken to Samos. What happened was not only shocking, but also cruller and inhuman, a violation of international law, international human rights and international maritime law.
At 16.12, October 17, 22 people was found drifting in a life rafts outside Menderes, Turkey, by the Turkish coast guard(TCG). 8 hours after they made contact on Ikaria, Greece, they were back at sea.
From pictures published by TCG, Aegean Boat Report have so far positively identified four people, the same people who we can see in the pictures on Ikaria earlier this day.
All four phones that Aegean Boat Report had contact with on Ikaria this morning went offline between 07.48 and 08.58, and has not been turned on since. Not surprisingly since the people picked up outside Menderes was robbed of all belongings, phones, money, papers, even bags with diapers and food for the babies was taken by masked men on a vessel from the Hellenic Coast Guard.
We know from articles published in local press, that many locals witnessed what happened on Ikaria, especially locals in Amenities who assisted the new arrivals. We hope that they come forward, or at least anonymously, to talk and give statements to journalists, this needs to be published, and not only on Aegean Boat Report. This illegal inhumane behavior of the Greek government is done in the names of all Greek people, it’s up to Greek people to show that this is wrong, that it’s not in their name.
In the group there was 4 women, two of the pregnant, and 5 children, two only babies, 5 months and one only 3 days old. What kind of people force small babies and pregnant women into a life raft and leave them in the middle of the sea? People doing this doesn’t deserve to be called humans, it’s even an insult to animals to call them animals, they are nothing but monsters.
For a coast guard officer to be involved in any of this, is a disgrace for the whole profession, and they can no longer hide behind “just following orders”, because they know that what they are doing is illegal, in direct violation of international law.
Greek Coast Guard Lieutenant Kyriakos Papadopoulos would have turned in his grave if he had known this, and if he had still been amongst us, he would have resigned from the coast guard out of embarrassment, refuse to be a part of this madness.
The spotlight on Greece for illegal pushbacks has been increasing, from NGOs, international press and lately from the EU Commision. This pressure need to continue, to try to force Greece to again follow international law. So far it seems like the Greek government couldn’t care less, and are making a mockery of the EU Commission and international law. The lack of action on these atrocities, from the EU Commission, is not only an embarrassment for themselves, but for the whole of Europe, our values seems to be lost, intentionally by spineless politicians.
Since March 2020 384 life rafts have been found drifting in the Aegean Sea carrying 6,659 men, women and children, victims of cruel and inhuman behavior by the Greek government.
For any questions from the public, please address the questions to the local authorities on Ikaria
Ikaria Mayor’s Office: (+30)22753 – 50409
Port Police Agios Kirikos: (+30) 22753 – 50700, 22753 – 50701, 22750 – 22207