EU issues muted response to Greek migrant shipwreck

The EU’s executive rejected calls to investigate Greece.

By Gregorio Sorgi and Jacopo Barigazzi
June 19, 2023

The European Commission brushed aside pressure from international organizations to launch an independent probe into the conduct of the Greek authorities in what some are calling the worst tragedy ever in the Mediterranean Sea.

Public scrutiny turned its focus on the Greek coast guard in the shipwreck last Wednesday off the coast of Pylos, Greece, which officially claimed the lives of almost 80 migrants and left 500 missing, according to the U.N.’s migration and refugee agencies.

“We take note that the [Greek] public prosecutor has started an investigation on this incident, and it is very important to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation” by allowing Greece to carry forward its own inquiry, said the EU’s home affairs spokesperson Anitta Hipper during a daily media briefing on Monday.

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Shipwreck in Pylos: Over 300 Pakistani immigrants lost their lives

Jun 19, 2023

As questions mount over the role of the coast guard, grim new details come to light about the Pylos shipwreck, one of the deadliest, revealing the refugee crisis facing the European Union as tens of thousands of people seek refuge from war, persecution and poverty.

As CNN reports, more than 300 Pakistani nationals were killed in the wreck. The outlet cited the president of Pakistan’s Senate, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, who disclosed the numbers in a statement on Sunday, sending condolences to the families of the dead.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and we pray that the souls of the departed find eternal peace,” Sanjrani said. “This devastating incident highlights the urgent need to address and condemn the heinous act of human trafficking.”

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Three Syrian survivors counter Greek authorities’ Pylos shipwreck narrative: ‘They tied a rope, we capsized, they sailed away’

By Alicia Medina, Walid Al Nofal
Jun 19, 2023

Four days after surviving one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks in recent memory, three Syrians countered Greek authorities’ narrative of how a fishing vessel carrying 750 people capsized and sank off the coast of Pylos on June 14.

Only 104 people survived the boat’s sinking, while 80 bodies have been recovered. More than 550 people are estimated to remain missing in the Calypso Deep, the deepest of the Mediterranean Sea.

On Saturday morning, 71 out of the 104 survivors were at the Malakasa reception center north of Athens. Camp authorities and police repeatedly tried to prevent Syria Direct’s reporter from speaking with survivors through its barbed wire fence, and barred survivors from exiting the camp to speak with members of the press gathered outside.

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Greek Coast Guard Rejects BBC Investigation Into Fatal Shipwreck

By Eleni Stamatoukou
Jun 19, 2023

The Greek coast guard has rejected the findings of a BBC investigation into the fatal shipwreck off Pylos, which showed that the migrant fishing boat was not moving for many hours before it sank.

The coastguard claims that during these hours the boat was still on course for Italy.

“From the time of its detection until its sinking, the specific fishing vessel traveled a total of about 30 nautical miles,” the Greek coast guard said on Monday in a press release.

In its Sunday report, the BBC said the fishing vessel was stationary for hours. Data from MarineTraffic, a maritime analytics, shows that the movement of other ships in the area proves that the vessel did not move for at least seven hours before capsizing.

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“All of the shipping activity of the previous seven hours was focused around one specific spot, suggesting the migrant boat had hardly moved. The scale of the animated map suggests it traveled less than a few nautical miles, which may be expected of a stricken vessel buffeted by the wind and the waves in the deepest part of the Mediterranean Sea,” said the BBC.

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