One hundred and seventy migrants drifting off the Peloponnese peninsula in a damaged boat, were rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard on Monday.
The yacht was towed to the port of Kalamata.
The coast guard did not have any further details on where it had set sail from, what its intended destination had been or what the nationalities of those on board were.
Authorities said a passing cargo ship initially began towing the yacht Sunday after it lost steering more than 50 nautical miles southwest of Cape Tenaro, also known as Cape Matapan, the southernmost tip of mainland Greece.
Illegal migratory flows to the Greek islands is down 76% compared to 2019. Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied children, are living in squalid conditions in overcrowded camps on several Greek islands after arriving from the nearby Turkish coast.
According to the Greek coast guard, the boats are often very old and their engines frequently break down during the long journey.
Last month, Greece’s Migration & Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi sent a letter to European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johannson, as Turkish vessels continue to escort inflatable migrant boats towards European borders.
The letter emphasises, among other things, that “it is a well-established fact that these migrants departed the Turkish coast, and given that they were under close observation and escort by Turkish vessels, the conclusion is that they were not being persecuted, and their lives were not in danger.”
He was backed by Greek Coast Guard data showing Turkish support of these failed attempts at illegal crossings.
“It is beyond doubt that the Turkish authorities continue to support the passage of migrants, with the clear aim of creating propaganda through the media, putting pressure on the EU’s external borders and thus seeking to escalate with Greece,” he continued.
The Minister stressed that Greece “does not tolerate illegal migrant crossings orchestrated by Turkey,” and called on the European Union “to react in a coordinated manner to such actions, which do not specifically target one member state, but the EU as a whole.”