Investigations are advancing into the shipwreck that left at least 79 migrants dead in Greek waters on June 14. New details about what happened have been revealed and as a result, at least nine people of Egyptian nationality were captured in Greece for their alleged links to human trafficking organizations, which would be responsible for the tragedy.
The Egyptian authorities have informed that they work together with the Greek ones, both in the work of rescue and recognition of bodies, as with the capture of nine people.
Those captured survived the accident and are accused of being directly related to the shipwreck, listed as the deadliest so far in 2023.
The wrecked fishing boat – believed to have between 500 and 750 people on board – left Egypt, stopped in Libya and headed for Italy, but ran into problems halfway through the Ionian Sea, just a few kilometers from the shores of Greece.
A tragedy that leaves at least 79 people dead, all men, and 104 rescued, although it is believed that the death toll could be much higher, since all the bodies have not been recovered.
The investigations are still ongoing, so the Egyptian embassy in Greece showed its willingness to learn more details about what happened and identify the Egyptian victims who lost their lives.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regretted the death of the victims of the shipwreck and stated that it is also following “the situation of the identified survivors in order to present them with the necessary services.”
So far, it has been known that most of the victims came from Egypt, Syria and Pakistan. In addition, most of the occupants of the boat were men around 20 years of age and who are believed to have paid between 4,000 and 6,000 euros for their tickets.
In addition, Cairo assured that it took “determining” measures with a new legislation that seeks to deal with illegal immigration, with Egypt being one of the most frequent routes for those seeking to enter European territory irregularly.
The ‘modus operandi’ of trafficking networks in the Mediterranean
People-smuggling gangs have increased their capacity by 600% and have a new way of operating, with large ships leaving mainly from Libya’s east coast, said European Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson.
He added that a tragedy like this had been feared since the beginning of the year due to the increase in people seeking better life opportunities and security outside their countries, but in their despair they fell into unscrupulous hands.
“The traffickers who put these people on the ship are not sending them to Europe, they are sending them to their deaths,” denounced the commissioner.
He also requested that coordination be established between the different authorities, both in the sending countries, as well as in the receiving and transit countries for migrants.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that some 72,000 refugees and migrants have reached European territory, of which 3,800 have died during their journey and 2,761 of those have been at sea.
More reactions on the tragedy
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the IOM requested this June 16 that “urgent” measures be taken to prevent the death of more migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean.
“The duty to promptly rescue people in distress at sea is a fundamental rule of international maritime law,” the two organizations stressed in a joint press release.
Similarly, they called for “coherent” search and rescue actions to avoid greater human losses, in addition to urging the European Union to increase “security and solidarity”, according to the UNHCR deputy high commissioner for protection, Gillian Triggs. .
Earlier this year, in February, a similar tragedy had already occurred, leaving 59 people dead and 80 surviving when they were on board a wooden boat that capsized off southern Italy.
With EFE and local media