Migrant Boat Wreck in Greece

Greek Coast Guard Under Scrutiny for Response to Migrant Mass Drowning

Contradictions in the Coast Guard’s account cast new doubts over how the  Greeks handled one of the worst maritime disasters in the country’s history.

Migrant Boat Wreck in Greece
Greek Coast Guard

The Coast Guard disputed a BBC report demonstrating that the trawler full of migrants didn’t move for seven hours on Tuesday. The Greek Coast Guard on Monday countered that the boat had traveled 30 nautical miles from its detection Tuesday morning until it sank.

Greek officials are pointing the finger at the nine men currently under arrest. The suspected smugglers, they say, rejected water to keep migrants thirsty and docile and to maintain control.But experts say the Greek authorities also violated maritime law.

 A 2014 European Union law “establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders” counts among the criteria for rescue “the existence of a request for assistance, although such a request shall not be the sole factor for determining the existence of a distress situation.”

The other factors for a rescue read like a description of last week’s shipwreck. Among the criteria: “The seaworthiness of the vessel and the likelihood that the vessel will not reach its final destination,” “the number of persons on board in relation to the type and condition of the vessel,” and “the availability of necessary supplies such as fuel, water and food to reach a shore.”

Sourse: The New York Times

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