Geneva – Reports that hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers have gone missing this morning after their boat capsized off the coast of Greece are extremely concerning, said Euro-Med Monitor in a brief statement.
According to preliminary information, the boat was carrying over 400 Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian, and Palestinian migrants and asylum seekers when it capsized off the Greek coast for reasons currently unknown. The fate of nearly 200 of these individuals remains uncertain, as the Hellenic Coast Guard had recovered 59 bodies and rescued just 106 survivors at the time of this publication. According to Greek authorities, relevant agencies are actively working to locate the shipwreck and conduct search operations in the hope of finding more victims alive.
Survivors so far have not had any rescue equipment or life jackets, according to Euro-Med Monitor, which may reduce the chances of more of them being rescued over time. The fact that there were women and children on board is also a concern that has to be taken into consideration. The tragic incident may be the most severe since the beginning of this year, which witnessed the death and loss of about 1,170 migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to reach European shores.
The strict immigration policies pursued by the European Union and destination countries significantly contribute to pushing migrants and asylum seekers to take dangerous routes to Europe. The great risks increase the frequency of migrant shipwrecks, leading to a continuous rise in the number of victims.
Greek authorities must exert every possible effort to swiftly intensify ongoing search and rescue operations, and take any additional measures that are necessary to recover potential survivors. The European Union and its Member States—particularly Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and Malta—must regularly launch official rescue operations, conduct maritime patrols along known migration routes to ensure rapid response to drowning incidents, and respond urgently to distress signals from stranded boats in the Mediterranean Sea.