Five sailboats and four inflatables returned to the Turkish coast on Monday afternoon due to the actions of the Greek Coast Guard. One of them tried to ram a Greek border boat.
According to initial estimates, there were a total of about 590 refugees/migrants on board all boats attempting to enter Greek territorial waters in the maritime area between Samos and Chios, heading for the islands.
All boats were under constant surveillance by boats and ships of the Greek coast guard, which did not allow them to enter the territorial waters of the country until the Turkish coast guard was informed about the incident. In one case, a sailboat carrying migrants tried to ram a Coast Guard boat, but was unsuccessful.
About 450 migrants were on board the sailboats. Two of the boats returned to Turkish shores on their own, while the remaining three arrived accompanied by the Turkish Coast Guard, which in one case even took the passengers from the boat. Another 140 people aboard four inflatable boats were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard and returned to Turkish shores.
Statement Greek Coast Guard:
For several hours since early morning today, 23/05/2022, there has been particular tension in the wider maritime zone between the prefectures of Chios and Samos, with five incidents in which sailing craft with a sufficient number of foreigners on board attempted to enter Greek territorial waters. They set off from the Turkish coast and ended up on the Italian coast. At the same time, four inflatable boats with foreign passengers were found in the area, who also tried to enter the territorial waters of Greece. The total number of passengers on board the nine vessels exceeds five hundred and ninety (590).
In all of the above incidents, maritime vessels, as well as Greek Coast Guard patrol boats, were in the maritime zone and kept under close surveillance.
After their timely detection and the use of light and sound signals by patrol boats Λ.Σ.-ΕΛ.ΑΚΤ, none of the above watercraft entered the territorial waters of Greece. At the same time, there was an attempt to embolize (ram) the boat Λ.Σ. – ΕΛ.ΑΚΤ by one of the above ships, which then returned to the Turkish shores. It is noted that the Turkish coast guard was immediately informed of all nine incidents in order to take control and capture them, since the specific vessels were in Turkish territorial waters. The passengers of one of the five sailboats, as well as four inflatable boats, were picked up by Turkish coasters, and one sailboat, escorted by the Turkish Coast Guard, returned to Turkish shores.
The Hellenic Coast Guard is consistently taking all necessary measures with determination, respect for international law and sensitivity to human life to effectively monitor and protect the maritime borders of Greece and EUthe results of which are reflected in the rapid reduction in the number of illegal crossings of our maritime borders by third-country nationals.