Dutch ship saves boat people

17th January 2011, Comments 0 comments


A major search is underway for at least 22 migrants in the sea about 50 kilometres west of the Greek holiday island of Corfu.

They were on a 20-metre long Turkish fishing boat which got into difficulties in bad weather on Saturday night. A passing Dutch cargo ship, the Momentum Scan, managed to rescue 241 people from the boat before it sank. They are thought to be from Afghanistan and have been taken to Corfu.

Five ships, a helicopter, a plane and a Greek coastguard vessel have joined in the search for survivors. Every month, people smugglers transport thousands of illegal immigrants to Turkey, Greece and Italy. In Greece alone, an estimated 500,000 migrants and asylum seekers live alongside a population of just over 11 million. People smugglers are increasingly choosing to transport migrants over land into Europe via Turkey because this is safer than risking a voyage at sea.



© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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