The sea has borders and our homeland has the power to defend them, says Greek PM



Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attended the opening ceremony of the first of ten high-speed boats donated to the Coast Guard by the social supply company "SYN-ENOSIS" of the Hellenic Shipowners' Association.

During his speech, the Prime Minister pointed out the contribution of the Coast Guard in stopping migratory flows and saving lives, at a time when Greece is facing unpredictable behaviours at sea and in Evros from Turkish aggression. He praised the tireless work of the men and women of the House, and stressed the importance of co-operation between the state and the private sector, without neglecting the state's concern for strengthening national security.

"Ultimately, the sea has borders. And the homeland has the plan, the power, but especially the people to defend them. To show that these are not only the borders of our homeland but also the external borders of Europe. But he should also make sure that no lives are lost in the area, nor that people are trafficked," the Prime Minister pointed out.

Mitsotakis stressed that in April and May "no boat arrived in Lesvos," in the first half of the year the flows decreased by 45% compared to the corresponding period of 2019, while in the last quarter the decrease amounted to 80%.

"This is another medal on the chest of our port authorities. But it is also a message to the traffickers, all those who set up miserable circuits for the exploitation of human suffering: These roads of shame, the roads of fear, are permanently closed," he said.

The Prime Minister noted that in the coming months the contractor for the National Integrated Maritime Surveillance System will be selected, an "absolutely critical project" which will give the Coast Guard a flow of images and information in real time, allowing the operation to be more efficient.

"As the founder of the Coast Guard, Eleftherios Venizelos, used to say, 'the strongest argument is power.' I would add not its use, but its presence and visibility. The women and men of the Coast Guard, of the Greek Coast Guard, know this first hand: The doctrine of 'aggressive surveillance', as it is called, to prevent the entry of boats with illegal passengers into Greek waters, has already brought results," he said.

The new vessels, of Icelandic design but made in Greece, will significantly enhance the operational capabilities of the Coast Guard at sea. They will be available mainly to Port Authorities of the Eastern Aegean and, thanks to their special characteristics, will increase the readiness and speed of response of the Coast Guard fleet in the islands.

Each speedboat has two outboard engines with a total power of 900 horse power, is flexible, has the ability to carry heavy weapons, has a control chamber with anti-ballistic protection, while at the same time it is equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems, such as a recording camera and direct transmission. The design of the model chosen - the Leiftur 1100 Cabin Patrol of the company RAFNAR - allows navigation even in adverse weather conditions.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to the staff of the Coast Guard, while he had the opportunity to talk to the captains of two vessels operating at that time in the Eastern Aegean.

"For you, especially for the people, the captains, the crews of the boats there are no weekends, no holidays, no day, no night. The borders are guarded 365 days a year, 24 hours a day," noted Mitsotakis.