Greece Tows Ship With 400 Migrants To Port On Kos Island

ATHENS (AP) – A small cargo ship with about 400 mostly Afghan migrants and refugees was towed to “safe anchorage” on the Greek island of Kos, off the Turkish coast, on Saturday, the Greek coast guard said.

A coast guard spokesman told The Associated Press that he was unaware of the coast guard’s plans with the vessel and its passengers. The spokesperson spoke under the customary condition of anonymity because he could not release the exact location,

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On Friday, the coast guard indicated that a Turkish-flagged freighter was located by a Greek search and rescue vessel east of the island of Crete, after receiving information that it needed assistance.

Greece has made a formal request to Turkey to receive the ship back, which, according to the coast guard, left the Turkish coast and was heading to Italy.

Greek authorities say they would like to tow the ship to a port while receiving Turkish response, but have not yet decided which one. They are also considering the reaction of the local population, who for the past six years have received with mixed feelings, and even hostility, the arrival of migrants on their shores.

No information was available on the health of the passengers, mostly men.

After the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the authorities of the European Union fear a possible increase in migration. In 2015, almost a million people, most of them Syrian refugees, crossed into the EU via the Greek islands.

The EU and Turkey signed an agreement that obliges the Turkish authorities to receive back migrants who cross into the European Union from their territory and do not receive asylum. But Turkey, which itself hosts more than three million migrants, has shown signs of using the issue to its advantage and the sentiment among many EU members is to further strengthen border controls, despite accusations of avoiding it. .

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