The Greek Coast Guard successfully conducted a search and rescue operation with two of its vessels northeast of the island of Rhodes on Sunday, rescuing 21 migrants from a sinking boat.
During the search and rescue operation, there were adverse weather conditions in the area, the wind was blowing with a force of 6 on the Beaufort scale.
Among the passengers of the inflatable boat were six minor children, four boys and two girls, as well as 13 men and two women.
There were also people with disabilities on board, and four passengers were taken to a hospital in Rhodes.
According to a local publication dimokratiki their health is not in danger. Most of the migrants (according to them) are citizens of Syria.
The Coast Guard’s search and rescue operation was launched after someone on the boat called the European emergency number 112.
Two Coast Guard boats spotted the boat and were able to rescue the passengers. According to the Greek Coast Guard, not a single passenger has gone missing.
A successful attempt to cross into Greek territory, apparently, prompted the crossing of the Greek maritime border a whole flotilla of 9 ships days later. However, this time the Greek Coast Guard did not succumb to pity and sent all illegal immigrants back.
According to initial estimates, there were a total of about 590 refugees/migrants on board all boats attempting to enter Greek territorial waters in the maritime area between Samos and Chios, heading for the islands.
All boats were under constant surveillance by boats and ships of the Greek coast guard, which did not allow them to enter the territorial waters of the country until the Turkish coast guard was informed about the incident. In one case, a sailboat carrying migrants tried to ram a Coast Guard boat, but was unsuccessful.
About 450 migrants were on board the sailboats. Two of the boats returned to Turkish shores on their own, while the remaining three arrived accompanied by the Turkish Coast Guard, which in one case even took the passengers from the boat. Another 140 people aboard four inflatable boats were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard and returned to Turkish shores.