West News Wire: A boat carrying “hundreds” of migrants capsized off the coast of Greece, and the United Nations has demanded an immediate investigation into the event. According to accounts, the coastguard allegedly disregarded the boat’s distress signals.  

Greek officials reported that after a rusty trawler sank off the Peloponnese coast of Greece on Wednesday, at least 78 people were confirmed dead and hundreds more were feared missing, including one hundred children. 

Though it is believed that up to 500 more people are dead, just about 100 survivors, the most of whom are Syrian, Egyptian, and Pakistani nationals, have so far been located. 

100 kids reportedly made up the boat’s hold. 

The Greek coastguard was continuing its search efforts on Friday, which were scheduled to come to a conclusion at the end of the day. 

In a joint statement released on Friday, the UNHCR referred to the occurrence as “the worst incident” to occur in the Mediterranean and its surrounding seas in a number of years.  

Reporters in Geneva were warned by UN human rights spokeswoman Jeremy Laurence that “people smugglers” and “human traffickers” need to be looked into. 

Greece’s justification for refraining from acting, according to Vincent Cochetel, special representative of the UNHCR for the Central and Western Mediterranean, “does not hold up.” 

Activists and incident survivors claimed that the Greek coastguard might have escorted the trawler to safety sooner. 

The Greek coastguard has claimed the boat, which departed from eastern Libya for Italy, repeatedly refused assistance. 

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The coastguard’s logs show it was aware of the vessel from Tuesday morning and in contact with it from 2pm local time. 

However, activists from the Alarm Phone group, which monitors the seas for vessels in distress, say the ship called for help on Tuesday evening. 

Alarm Phone said it alerted the coastguard to the distress call. The UNHCR told Greek media it alerted the Greek authorities to the distress call when contacted by Alarm Phone. 

A coastguard vessel accompanied the boat for hours. On Friday, the Greek authorities denied that a rope thrown onto the boat by the coastguard had affected its balance and contributed to the disaster.  

Government spokesperson Ilias Siakantaris said the coastguard threw a rope onto the boat to “steady themselves to approach, to see if they needed any help”.  

Siakantaris stressed that the rope thrown was not a “mooring rope”, and the coastguard made no attempts to tow or tether the boat.  

The coastguard insisted that the boat would have capsized earlier if it had not intervened. 

It added that an English-speaking person onboard told the coastguard it did not need help as they intended to continue to Italy and wanted just food and water.  

Earlier reports indicate that the boat had stopped briefly to receive food and water from a Maltese-flagged ship. 


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