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Friday, May 24, 2024

A boat carrying migrants overturned off the Greek island of Lesbos

A boat carrying migrants overturned resulting in at least two confirmed deaths and up to 16 people still missing.

In a tragic incident on Wednesday, a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea, resulting in at least two confirmed deaths and up to 16 people still missing. The perilous journey of migrants seeking entry into the European Union through the Aegean Sea continues to claim lives, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Capsizing Incident

The incident unfolded when an inflatable dinghy, carrying 36 migrants, ran aground on the rocky shores of Agios Georgios, east of Lesbos, at around 3:00 am local time. The boat, originating from the Turkish coast, faced challenges due to strong winds, ultimately leading to its tragic overturning. According to reports, 18 migrants managed to disembark, while two bodies were recovered from the sea. However, the fate of the remaining 16 individuals remains uncertain as they dispersed after the boat ran aground.

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Search and Rescue Challenges

Despite the urgency of the situation, coast guard patrol boats were unable to conduct searches at sea on the day of the incident due to a sailing ban imposed because of adverse weather conditions. This obstacle further complicates the already challenging task of rescuing those missing and underscores the difficulties authorities face in preventing such tragedies.

Lesbos as a Gateway

The island of Lesbos has become a focal point for migrants attempting to enter the European Union, with many undertaking perilous journeys by sea. Greece, in collaboration with the European Union’s border protection agency Frontex, has intensified patrols in the Aegean Sea to address the growing challenges posed by irregular migration. However, these efforts often prove insufficient, as demonstrated by the recent capsizing incident.

Human Cost of Migration

The capsizing off Lesbos adds to a grim tally of lives lost during migration attempts. In June, a dilapidated boat sank off Pylos in the Peloponnese, resulting in the tragic drowning of 82 people, with hundreds reported missing. Forty survivors from that incident have since filed a group lawsuit against Greek authorities, alleging a failure to take appropriate action before the boat sank.

Read More: Aftermath of the Greek coast boat tragedy

As tragedies continue to unfold in the waters surrounding Lesbos, it is imperative for the international community to address the root causes of migration, enhance search and rescue operations, and implement comprehensive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of those seeking refuge. The incident serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost associated with irregular migration and highlights the need for urgent and coordinated action to prevent further loss of life.