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HCG refuce to rescue people in distress.

June 13th.

Boat with 32 refugees from Afghanistan incl. 11 women one of which 8-months pregnant & 11 children in distress North of Lesvos. They cannot move forward & some are injured. They are waiting for rescue since our first call at 6:34 CET. Greek Coast Guard vessel 080 and others are already at the scene. The people in distress ask for rescue, medical help and international protection.

Denial of rescue is unlawful & puts lives in danger! The Turkish coastguard is present but tells us that they cannot intervene as the boat is in Greek water. We demand immediate rescue to Greece! These scenes of non-assistance and violence at Europe’s Aegean border have to stop!

We call on civil society to raise their voices and pressurise the Greek authorities to rescue. Europe, stop watching people suffer. Human rights are systematically being breached but Europe stays silent.

Update:32 people still denied rescue despite distress situation and reported dangers to their health. Small children and a pregnant woman are in critical health condition, according to the people in the boat. Greek and Turkish Coast Guards leave them alone in the sea.

Refugees forced in to a rubber boat by HCG.

Another pushback video was published by Turkish coast guard, showing three vessels from the Greek Coast Guard while they were forcefully putting people in a rubber boat without a engine, and leaving them drifting at sea.

This pushback happened on Friday evening, allegedly outside Lesvos north, location can not be verified from data in the video, but a boat carrying 36 people was picked up by TCG south of Babakale, Turkey. The facts in this video can not be denied, and we can clearly see how people are taken from the bigger vessel, over to the smaller one, and then forced into the rubber boat, some even thrown in to the boat.

To see coast guard, that should be at sea to protect life, deliberately putting people lives in danger, is shocking. How people onboard these vessels can do this, knowing that they are breaking not only international laws, maritime laws but also Greek laws, is a disgrace for anyone working at sea. There is no excuse that they are only following orders from the Greek government, when they know these orders are illegal.

At some point people in charge of this madnes must be held accountable for there actions, this needs to stop!

All lives matter, regardless of their nationality, religion or color of their skin, we are all equal!

German Frontex interveen after pushback attempt June 4th.

A boat carrying 32 people was in distress outside Lesvos north east this morning. Their engine had been removed by Greek coast guard, they also used their boat to make waves, so that the refugee boat would drift towards Turkey. They where left helpless in the sea, drifting.

People onboard jumped in the sea, and tried to swim the boat towards Lesvos. After hours in the sea German FRONTEX came to their rescue, and towed the boat in to a Palios, Lesvos north east this afternoon. Greek coast guard was in the area the whole time, watching, but refused to assist people in distress, in direct violation of international maritime law.

When will this madness end..

Phusback May 29th.

A boat carrying approximately 40 people that was trying to cross towards Lesvos south from Turkey was brutally pushed back by the Greek coast guard 11.00 this morning.

The Hellenic coast guard vessel Nr 618, who is stationed on Lesvos, stopped the boat inside Greek wathers, destroyed the engine and left the people drifting for hours at sea before being picked up by Turkish coast guard.

A man was injured in his head when the crew members on the HCG vessel used long sticks, hitting repeatedly down towards the rubber boat, trying to damage the engine. Also a white powder was sprayed from the HCG vessel over the passengers in the rubber boat. What this white powder was is unknown, but people said that their eyes burned and some had difficulties breathing properly because their lungs was burning.

In several videos that ABR received, we can also see a vessel from the Turkish coast guard in the background. What their role in this crossing was is not revealed from the videos, but they have in many previous cases been “helping” bosts towards the Greek border. This power game between Turkey and Greece, on the backs of innocent people, must come to an end.

Applaudin Pushbacks!

The Mayor’s of Mytilini, Chios and East Samos issued a joint statement expressing their gratitude towards the coast guard, who bravely is defending the maritime borders, with weapons, against defenseless refugees, unarmed children, women and men, seeking refuge. Is this something people should be proud of, and who in their right mind would applaud these inhuman and illegal actions?


Joint Declaration of Mayors“The Mayors of Mytilene, Stratis Kentelis, Chios Stamatis Karmantzis and Eastern Samos George Stantzos, feel the need on behalf of all the islanders of their Municipalities affected by immigration, to express their gratitude and public gratitude to each and every one of the officers of the Coast Guard who serve in our islands, for the bravery, conscientiousness and self-sacrifice that they show every day during the execution of their mission’s, guarding the sea borders of our homeland and preventing successfully the landing of illegal immigrants on our islands.”

“Successfully preventing the landing of illegal immigrants”, they have already been processed, before they arrive, and found to be not entitled to seek asylum, pushed back by any means possible, without due process.

These right wing Mayor’s is not only encouraging the Greek coast guard, but also applauding them, for breaking Greek and international laws, violating human rights and risking people’s lives at sea. People who are selected to office, and encourage others to break laws, should be removed immediately, they are not fit to govern, they are a danger to society.

The Greek coast guard is systematically removing anyone trying to reach the Greek islands, even people who arrive on the islands has been sent back to Turkey, this is well documented. HCG is acting on orders from the Greek government, to stop anyone who tries to cross from Turkey, by any means possible, even if it’s life treating.

There are numerous well documented cases where HCG is shooting towards defenseless refugees in rubber boats, driving dangerous close in high speed and taking off engines, leaving people helpless drifting in the sea. Even when children drowned as a result of the actions taken by HCG, when a patrol boat outside Mytilíni capsized a rubber boat, nobody was held accountable, there was no investigation, it was business as usual. The incident was filmed by HCG, but the video was never realest.

What these Mayors in fact is applauding, is major violations of the maritime law convention of the UN, international maritime law, the international human rights convention, the Geneva Refugee Convention, EU and national greek criminal law. If the international maritime law still would be executed, which is clearly not the case anymore since 2015, all the officers on these boats involved in these illegal activities would have faced trial at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg. It does not matter if the officers on these ships followed orders, since the orders are unlawful and they knew it. Therefore these officers, according to the law, would have to be stripped of their officer’s license, banned from working on ships for lifetime and face criminal charges for attempted murder. Instead during the last 5 years not one of these criminals was held accountable. There was not even one case brought before the court in Hamburg. It seems to be clear that the law does not apply for some of its most powerful members for half a decade now.

The Greek government is counting on that everyone is focusing on the battle against this virus, that they can do whatever they want without consequences, that Europe will look the other way. Hopefully Greek and international news will pick this up, demanding answer, someone needs to be held accountable. Even in times of crisis, we must stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing” (Albert Einstein)

Important news nowhere to be found in media. Why?

There has been a substantial increase in numbers of refugees leaving for the Greek islands in August this year. Compared to last year’s 5,483 departures in August only, there’s been an increase of 299% with the same month this year’s total of 21,870 hopeful refugees who set out from Turkey on their dangerous journeys crossing the Aegean Sea on their quest for a safer and better life.

Only 7,893 of them actually arrived the islands though, yet coverage on the returned refugees is nowhere to be found in media. Why is that?

Why is media only focusing on the increase of the lucky few arrivals – leaving out the even higher numbers of the unlucky ones that didn’t make it to Europe?

Even though the increase of successful arrivals is 152% higher than that of August last year – which is, in fact, quite significant – the numbers of non-successful attempts of crossing the Aegean Sea to escape hell are even higher. But no-one ever mentions that.

The fact that the number of boats stopped – and in many cases arrested – by the Turkish coastguard before reaching the Greek islands has increased by a staggering 496% compared to August last year. How can media and big organizations forget to mention that?

In one month alone, almost 14,000 people have been arrested while trying to reach safety in Europe. What is holding the media back from reporting on such an important issue? Politics? Lobbying? Ignorance?

Sure, there’s often hidden agendas behind media’s behaviour but there’s no reason good enough to keep such important news back from the the rest of the world. Is there?…

1500 people transferred from Lesvos..

Today approximately 1500 people were transported from Lesvos to the mainland in a desperate attempt to take some pressure off the overcrowded island.

About 1000 people will be put in 200 tents in New Kavala – a camp where tensions are so high that organizations themselves have had to pull out of the camp as it’s too dangerous to remain. In other words, the refugees are being transferred from a bad situation to an even worse one – from one tent to another…

Arrivals on Lesvos this month alone has been almost 4000 people, so this action will in fact take some pressure of that specific island but it’s not going to solve any problems in the long run whatsoever. To keep moving people around within Greece’s borders will not change anything – it’s just a desperate attempt by a government that has no chance of dealing with this crisis alone.

“Simplifying The Day – Norway Will Not Accept Boat Migrants”

“Simplifying The Day – Norway Will Not Accept Boat Migrants” is now being used as a slogan for the Norwegian right-wing party Fremskrittspartiet (The Progress Party).

The Norwegian right-wing Minister for The Elderly And Public Health, Sylvi Listhaug is exploiting innocent refugees of the crisis in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas to promote the Progress Party in the upcoming election using the slogan “Norway Will Not Accept Boat Migrants» to win voters by producing fear through xenophobic propaganda.

This while being fully aware of the simultaneously ongoing horrid situation for refugee children on the Greek islands – with one child refugee recently being stabbed to death in the temporary refugee camp, Moria where kids are left unattended. Still Norway refuses to assist EU in accepting refugees – thus leaving the southernmost countries to deal with the situation on their own.

The Progress Party, with their appalling attitude towards refugees and complete lack of empathy, is a disgrace for Norwegian politics and the country’s political debates. While people are living in inhuman conditions and children are locked up in closed refugee camps on the islands, the Progress Party wants Norway to do absolutely nothing about it. Humanity seems to have been completely lost while narcissism has taken over… There are no words to describe the shame the average Norwegian is feeling regarding this issue. None.

246 Children

Yesterday 13 boats arrived at the same time, in the outskirts of Skala Sikamineas, Lesvos north, 547 people. Some are trying to give an impression that it’s only young men traveling, nothing is further from the truth.

246 children arrived yesterday, 246! That really puts things in perspective. Where I come from that’s a a medium size school or 22 football teams. Also on the boat, 124(23%) women and 177(32%)men.

There has been a steady increase in arrivals the last couple of months, more and more people are fleeing a difficult situation in Turkey. So far in August 100 boats have arrived on Lesvos, 215 boats total on all islands, that’s almost 8000 people in one single month.

We should also mention what is happening on the Turkish side, to be able to see the whole picture. In August 410 boats have been stopped, 13.000 people arrested by Turkish Coastguard and police. A staggering 625 boats have started the trip towards Greece, 21.000 people.

This is the highest arrival numbers since 2015, and I’m afraid that we have only seen the beginning..

Photo Credit: Serdar M. Değirmencioğlu.IMG_6662

The Story

I have been running Aegean Boat Report, a Norwegian NGO, since December 2017, from a small town in the north of Norway. People following the page have believed that this was done from the ground in Greece, and by a team, not one single man. It has been challenging, and a lot of hard work.

I have used thousands of hours, at the expense of my family, to provide correct and neutral information to the general public. The refugee crisis isn’t over, just because the journalists left.
Its still ongoing, and arrivals on the Greek Aegean Islands haven’t been this high since 2015.

Before I started Aegean Boat Report, I gathered information, and distributed it on a daily basis, to teams and volunteers on the ground. This so people working on the islands, could have a better overview on the situation. I have been supporting teams and volunteers, since early 2016.

In late 2015 I worked as a volunteer on the shores off Lesvos north, taking in boats day and night. This experience changed me, for better ore for worse, it made me who I am today. Dose this make me a better person?
I don’t think so, but perhaps it has made me more reflected on the word we live in.

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Continue reading “The Story”