Late Friday, the coast guard recovered the bodies of 16 migrants – 12 men, three women and a baby – and rescued 63 others who were aboard a wrecked boat near the island of Paros.
According to survivors, some 80 migrants were on the boat.
This latest tragedy, the third since Wednesday, brings to at least 30 the number of migrants who perished this week while trying to reach Europe, the increase in these incidents worrying the Greek authorities.
Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs Giannis Plakiotakis accused neighboring Turkey,
which allows smugglers to act with impunity.
” These days, the criminal activity of smugglers, who are indifferent to human life, has escalated, crowding dozens of people in distress, without life jackets, onto boats that do not even meet safety standards. basic. “
According to the ERT television channel, smugglers operating from Cesme and Bodrum on the Turkish coast are cramming the migrants onto yachts to send them to Italy using new, more dangerous routes.
Three coast guard patrol boats, private boats and a coast guard plane continued their search on Saturday, authorities said, assisted by divers.
Thursday evening, 11 bodies were recovered after the sinking of a boat with a hundred migrants on board, stranded the same day on an islet in southern Greece.
Some 90 survivors, including 11 women and 27 children, were able to be rescued and evacuated on Friday morning from this islet located north of the Greek island of Antikythera, told theAFP a head of the Greek coast guard.
Thursday’s sinking had already occurred the day after the capsizing of an inflatable boat carrying migrants off the island of Folegandros, also in southern Greece, which left at least three dead.
Thirteen people, mainly Iraqis, but also Syrians and Egyptians, had been rescued.
The UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, deplored the accident.
This shipwreck is a painful reminder that people continue to embark on perilous journeys in search of safety, reacted Adriano Silvestri, the deputy representative of UNHCR in Greece.
And on Friday, the coast guard intercepted another boat with 92 men and boys on board, which had run aground on the coast of the Peloponnese peninsula.
Three suspected smugglers, who fled the boat on foot, were subsequently arrested.
Greek media point to the fact that the accidents to ships from Turkey occurred under good weather conditions.
theUNHCR estimates that more than 2,500 people died or disappeared at sea trying to reach Europe between January and November.
Almost a million people, mostly Syrian refugees, arrived in the European Union (EU) in 2015 after traveling from Turkey to nearby Greek islands.
The situation in Afghanistan raised fears of the arrival of a new wave of migrants.
Athens accuses Ankara of turning a blind eye to people attempting to cross to Greece, in violation of the March 2016 agreement which provided for a real Turkish effort to limit migration from its territory in exchange for financial aid billion euros from theEU, while Turkey denies these accusations.