Greek authorities intercept boat carrying migrants to Italy

U.S. & World

Migrants disembark from a vessel after an operation by the Greek Coast guard at the port of Katakolo, western Greece, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Greece’s Migration and Asylum ministry says the country’s coast guard has towed a boat carrying 65 asylum seekers to a port on the western coast of Greece after it was found to be in distress in the Ionian Sea. The ministry said Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 that 35 of those on board were from Turkey, 15 from Afghanistan and many of the others from Iraq. (Giannis Spyrounis/ilialive.gr via AP)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s coast guard towed a boat carrying 65 asylum-seekers to a port on the country’s western coast after it was found to be in distress in the Ionian Sea, authorities said Thursday.

The Migration and Asylum ministry said that 35 of those on board were from Turkey, 15 from Afghanistan, eight from Iraq and seven from Iran.

Fifty-seven had already applied for asylum in Greece, it said, adding that they would be transferred to refugee centers, while those who had no documentation would apply for asylum.

Two people believed to be the boat’s crew members were sent to court.

It was the second case this week of Greek authorities intercepting migrant boats off the western coast of Greece, where they were believed to be heading to neighboring Italy.

On Wednesday, the coast guard said it received a call about a yacht in distress off the coast of the island of Corfu. Coast guard vessels picked up 25 people, including nine children, from the boat.

The coast guard said the adults were arrested for violating immigration laws, while the children were placed in protective custody. Authorities were searching for three people believed to be part of a migrant smuggling ring.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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