Pakistan reported 300 of its Citizens Killed in the Migrant Ship off Greece

World | June 19, 2023, Monday // 14:15|  views

Pakistan has reported around 300 of its citizens who died when a ship carrying illegal migrants from Libya to Europe capsized last week.

"Senate President Sadiq Sanjrani deeply mourns the tragic loss of nearly 300 Pakistanis following a boat accident off the coast of Greece," Sanjrani's office said in a tweet, as quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency on Monday.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that he had ordered a "high-level inquiry to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking incident".

14 people have been arrested for human trafficking in connection with the tragedy, reports Reuters.

"I have instructed Pakistan's foreign ministry to take immediate action at all levels to gather information about the missing," Sharif added.

Greek media reports that the Greek authorities have not yet confirmed the death toll, but according to the UN, it could reach 500 people.

Last Wednesday, a fishing vessel with about 750 survivors aboard capsized and sank off the Peloponnese coast - the deepest part of the Mediterranean Sea. According to initial reports, after engine failure and panic on board, the ship capsized and sank rapidly, dragging hundreds of people to the bottom. 104 people were rescued and have already been transferred to refugee camps near Athens. The bodies of 78 drowned people were recovered. The main part of the migrants on board are citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria.

Russian warships in the Ionian Sea

On Monday, another 68 migrants were rescued after they issued a distress call about problems with their vessel off the Greek island of Leros in the Ionian Sea.

The migrants were initially transferred to a ship, which according to some reports is under the Russian flag. After that, the migrants were transferred to a vessel of the Greek border guard and were placed in a safe place on the island of Leros, reports a BNR correspondent from Greece.

Russian media reported that two Russian warships, the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and the ship Pizhma, picked up the migrants from the capsized Avalon ship overnight in the southern Ionian Sea.

After giving them medical aid, they transferred them to the Greek island of Kalymnos, where they handed over the rescued migrants to the Greek Coast Guard.

Did Greece act correctly?

In its own investigation, the BBC reveals details that cast doubt on the version of Greece in whose rescue zone the tragedy occurred. In support of the reports of engine problems, British media reported, based on traffic tracking data, that the migrant ship had been stationary for a long time, having been refueled twice.

The Greek coastguard said the vessel was sailing and heading for Italy and did not require help. The ship's crew refused the offered help, saying there were no problems. A little later the ship sank.

The Greek paper "Kathimerini" published conversations with several survivors. One of them says that the engine problems started on the second day of their four-day voyage. Discontent on board began when the traffickers stopped giving the passengers food and water and the migrants decided the captain had lost his way. He also mentions the encounter with the Greek Coast Guard vessel that came to the rescue and the capsize of the vessel shortly afterwards.

Another migrant told of a fight on board over water transferred on board by a passing ship. He also mentions engine problems. According to him, the ship suddenly tilted to one side and capsized.

No one on board was wearing a life jacket, according to survivors.

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Tags: Pakistan, greece, ship, migrants


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