A group of 27 people arrived on the small island of Diaporti, west of Livadaki beach, Samos north east, in the early hours of October 18. After first light they contacted Aegean Boat Report, asking for help so that they wouldn’t be pushed back to Turkey by the Greek authorities.
This same morning another boat landed west of Potami, Samos north west, also this boat carrying 27 people, and also this group contacted Aegean Boat Report and asked for help.
Both groups had provided sufficient documentation of their presence on Samos, pictures, video and location data was sent to Aegean Boat Report. Authorities had information on the location of both groups. In Potami the NGO Helsinki Monitor had sent an official notification to the authorities, on Diaporti a vessel from the Hellenic Coast Guard can be seen in several videos on location.
There is no doubt that the Port police on Samos knew about both arrivals, but only one group, the one that arrived in Potami, was taken to the camp on Samos, the other group from Diaporti island, was forcibly removed from Samos, and left drifting in a life raft outside Kusadasi, Turkey, by the Hellenic Coast Guard.
Unfortunately for the people traveling towards Samos north east, they didn’t manage to land the boat on Samos, instead they landed on a small “rock” only 50 meters from Samos, the island of Diaporti. In the dark it must have been impossible to tell the difference, and in the belief that they had reached their destination, they destroyed the boat, and sealed their faith.
Some of the new arrivals on Diaporti seems to have realized their mistake before it was to late. In the cover of darkness, and before the vessel from the Hellenic Coast Guard arrived, seven people swam the short distance, 50 meters, from the island to Samos, and escaped being pushed back.
At first light when they contacted Aegean Boat Report, several of them mentioned someone swimming, but when asked if someone was in the sea, they said not anymore, that everyone was on land and ok. We actually didn’t realize that someone had escaped from the tiny island, they continued to repeat that 27 people had been on the boat and everyone was ok, there was nowhere to go right?, my mistake.
The officers onboard the coast guard vessel, a Lambro 57 belonging to the port police on Samos, seems for some reason to have fired a gun or a rifle, for what reason and towards what we don’t know. Several of the new arrivals reported that the Greek coast guard, who are on location was shooting towards them. We have also received voice messages where we can hear what we identify as shots fired in the background.
This sound could off course be something else, but combined with what the people reported, it’s at least suspicious, and if in fact they were shooting agains refugees on a small island, totally uncalled for.
The group has provided sufficient prof of their presence on Diaporti, Aegean Boat Report have received pictures, video and location data, we can also see a Lambro 57 coastal patrol boat belonging to the Hellenic Coast Guard on site.
All contact with the group was lost 08.25, on 4 different phones, so we assumed that the port police on Samos had arrived on the island and forced them to turn off their phones, or even hand them over, not an unusual practice from the port police. Non on these phones have been online since.
We hoped that this group also would be taken to the camp on Samos, as the group from Potami, but no further arrivals was registered, and we realized that they mostly likely had been removed from the area by force, and would not end up in any camp.
At 11.40 the Turkish coast guard found and rescued 20 people from a life raft drifting outside Kusadasi, Turkey, only three hours after last contact on the Greek island of Diaporti. There isn’t much doubt on what happened, nor is there any doubt on who is responsible.
From pictures published by TCG, Aegean Boat Report have so far positively identified five people, the same people who we can see in the pictures from Diaporti earlier this day. There is absolutely no doubt that it’s the same people, and as we have concluded so many times before, no doubt on who is responsible.
Unfortunately the port police on Samos seems to be suffering from amnesia, because if asked, there wasn’t any incident in this area, not as far as they can remember at least. The video of the HCG vessel on location?, “no that must be a mistake, probably something these criminal NGOs have cooked up to make us look bad”, yes, that must be it right..
When it comes to the 7 missing people from this landing on Diaporti, we believe they were found today(Wednesday), when NGOs was searching the area for people missing from a landing this morning. A boat reported to be carrying approximately 30 people landed on Samos north east, first 31 people was found, then an additional 14, way more than it should have been in the first place on this boat. We first believe that two boats had arrived in this area today, and that can still be the case, but we also believe that the 7 missing from Diaporti from yesterday is amongst these 45 found today.
We have published hundreds of pushback reports over the last year. Since March 2020, we have documented 755 pushback cases involving 20.446 people. In the same period, 385 life rafts have been found drifting in the Aegean Sea, carrying over 6.600 people.
This is no longer even the “new normal”: it is just “normal”. There can be few more damning indictments of Europe and its people than that this is how we behave: risking and causing people to die, by attacking them, and denying them their fundamental human rights.
It is an attack on us all: when a government strips a Somali teen, a Syrian child, an Iraqi man, an Afghan woman of their human rights, you have to know that they are reserving the right to do the same to you, to your son, daughter, brother, sister, parents, grandfather and grandmother.
Those rights belong to us all: once they are taken from one of us, they can be taken from us all. It must stop. We cannot simply turn a blind eye to this – the disgrace of Europe. Instead, we must stand, together, and demand better: from our governments, from the EU, from the international community.