A massive increase in refugees trying to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey towards Europe, in the last five days 1500 people have started on this dangerous journey, only 58 have arrived in Greek Aegean Islands.
The increase in large boats carrying hundreds of people is especially worrying. Old condemned cargo and fishing vessels have been stopped, many carrying more than then times the allowed number of passengers. These boats have been scrapped for a reason, they are no longer safe to use, nevertheless unscrupulous smugglers charge thousands of Euros for a ticket on these death traps.
In the past we have seen dozens of these boats go down, it never ends well, hundreds of people have drowned to try to reach Europe. It’s only a matter of time before we have yet another tragedy on our hands, it’s inevitable, it’s not a matter of if, but when.
On Friday February 11, a yacht carrying 197 people set out from Foça, Izmir. The boat supposedly was trying to reach Italy when it was stopped. Six suspected smugglers was arrested.
Second boat on Friday 11 was an old fishing boat carrying 240 people. The vessel was stopped outside Seferihisar, Izmir. Five suspected smugglers was arrested
Third boat on a Friday 11 was an old passenger vessel carrying 252 people. The boat had crossed into Greek territory waters, but was stopped by the Greek coast guard. According to Greek press the boat was escorted back to Turkish waters. In this case it was towed, engine destroyed and left drifting outside Seferihisar, Izmir.
On Monday February 14, a sailboat was stopped south east of Bodrum, Mûgla, carrying 111 people, two suspected smugglers was arrested.
The second boat on Monday February 14 was a fishing boat carrying 332 people. The boat was stopped 22 nautical miles outside Anamur, Mersin. The smugglers driving the boar refused to stop, and in the effort to stop the boat one refugee was injured, another died.
A boat carrying these many people will easily bring in over 1,5 million Euros to the smugglers. And we think we can stop this by building walls and fences, the only solution is safe passage, that would put an end to this “industry of misery”.
Pushbacks is unfortunately normalized in this area, European politicians don’t care how people are stopped when trying to enter Europe and apply for asylum, as long as they are stopped, and pushed back.
The last five days there has been 15 registered pushback cases in the Aegean Sea, all performed by the Greek coast guard, involving almost 500 men, women and children.
Pushbacks continues at Europe’s borders because our spineless politicians have failed to uphold and protect our values.