WORLD 16 dead after refugee vessel sinks off Greek island


16 dead after refugee vessel sinks off Greek island

China Daily

19:39, December 25, 2021

Refugees and migrants aboard an inflatable boat sail on the sea before arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos. /AFP

ATHENS -- The death toll after a refugee boat sank on Friday night near the Aegean Sea island of Paros has risen to 16, including an infant, Greek media reported on Saturday.

About 80 people were on board when the boat carrying refugees and migrants overturned, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

A total of 63 passengers were rescued and transferred to safety on the island, Greek newspaper Ethnos (Nation) reported.

This was the third tragedy in Greek waters within four days.

Earlier, Greece's Hellenic Coast Guard announced that the death toll from a refugee and migrant boat sinking on Thursday off the Aegean Sea island of Antikythera has reached 11, with 90 passengers rescued.

On Wednesday, the Greek authorities announced that a similar boat sank near Folegandros island, killing three people, and leaving 13 others rescued and an unknown number of people missing.

Greece has been at the forefront of the refugee and migrant influx since 2015. Hundreds have perished in the Aegean Sea in the past six years.

So far this year, Greece has launched more than 1,450 search and rescue operations and saved more than 29,000 people, Greek Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis said in an e-mailed press release on Saturday.

Traffickers usually stacked dozens of distressed people without life jackets on boats that did not meet the basic safety standards, the minister said.

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