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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.