29 migrants rescued from boat off Greek coast

The Greek Coast Guard said about 29 people were removed from a sailboat off the southwest coast of mainland Greece and taken to the southern city of Kalamata.

The Coast Guard said Monday evening its search and rescue center received a notice of a problem with a boat carrying 29 people, 155km southwest of the city of Pylos, in the southern Greek region of the Peloponnese.

The Coast Guard said the passengers, 10 men, a woman and 18 minors, all from Afghanistan, Iran and Bangladesh, were taken by a Norwegian-flagged research vessel to Kalamata, indicating that the vessel had sailed off the Turkish coast, near the city of Izmir and probably headed for Italy.

Two people aboard the ship, both from Iran, were arrested on suspicion of smuggling. Greek authorities arrest anyone who drives a boat with migrants and accuse them of smuggling.

The sea route is the most common route for asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa traveling from Turkey to the nearby Greek islands. But Greek authorities have faced repeated and persistent allegations of summary deportation of newcomers to Turkey, preventing them from applying for asylum.

Source: AFP

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