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 June 15, 2023

Boat carrying migrants off the coast of Greece sinks, 79 fatalities confirmed

A boat carrying migrants sank Wednesday, killing at least 79 people, with that number expected to climb as hundreds more are still missing, the Daily Wire reported. The vessel met its demise in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece. 

The ship bound for Italy left Libya with young men from Pakistan, Egypt, and Syria, hoping to make it into Europe through the well-traveled route. However, the boat was too small, at only between 65 and 100 feet, and was overloaded.

"According to the people, there were 750 people on board… We now hear reports of a shipwreck and fear they are true," Alarm Phone, a European migrant advocacy group, tweeted about the incident.

"The number of the people on board was much higher than the capacity that should be allowed for this boat," Yiannis Karvelis, Greece's regional health director, confirmed. The ship went down 47 Nautical miles away from Pylos, Greece, and is the deadliest shipwreck in the nation since 2015.

More than a hundred survivors were pulled from the waters but hundreds are still missing. The first sign of trouble came late Tuesday when Italian officials noticed the vessel having difficulties.

It was reported to the Greek Coast Guard, which sought out the ship and offered assistance. However, they "refused assistance and stated their desire to continue their voyage," the Coast Guard said of the migrants on board.

Unfortunately, the trouble continued for hours until the boat capsized around 2:00 a.m. At that point, the Greek Coast Guard stepped in and launched a "wide-ranging search and rescue operation."

This tragedy brings to light the ongoing immigration problem plaguing Europe. Many migrants attempt to make their way through Greece and often do so at their own peril.

Between 2015 and 2016, 857,000 of the 5.2 million migrants who reached Europe did so through Greece. The coastal nation is a closer option for migrants from Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East and thus creates situations such as this.

"The shipwreck brings to the fore once again, in the most tragic way, the need to dismantle the international smuggling rings that endanger the lives of migrants," a statement from Greece’s Migration Ministry said Wednesday. The nation has a desire for stricter immigration, as evidenced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's winning agenda.

His government implemented plans that included sending asylum seekers away by boat as well as augmented security at migrant camps. Unfortunately, this has forced people to take to seafaring, which is the most dangerous option, with a 2022 U.N. report stating that 84% of those who die in such sea tragedies will go unidentified.

As s many as 71,000 people have landed in Southern Europe this year after making their way by sea, and Greece took in around 6,500 of them. More than 1,000 perished en route, making Mitsotakis's strict immigration policy a necessity as a deterrent.

Meanwhile, the nation also welcomed 70,000 Ukrainian refugees last year.  It's difficult to accommodate high numbers of newcomers in any country, but especially one the size of Greece.

Immigration can be a positive for any nation if allowed in a thoughtful and measured way. However, much like the U.S., Greece is dealing with a chaotic onslaught that has a high human cost, especially for those using dangerous methods to get there.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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