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Greece: Hunt For Possible Survivors Of Migrant Shipwreck, At Least 78 Dead

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Following a shipwreck that left at least 78 migrants dead, rescuers searched the seas near Greece on Thursday as chances of survivors diminished and concerns that hundreds more—possibly including children—may have perished inside the crammed vessel’s hold increased.

According to reports, the fishing boat that overturned and sank early on Wednesday morning in deep waters approximately 50 miles (80 km) from the southern coastal town of Pylos had between 400 and 750 people on board. According to Greek authorities, 104 people were brought ashore.

A Syrian man who had a missing wife waited outside the coast guard station in the port city of Kalamata where survivors were sent.

Kassam Abozeed, a resident of Germany, reported that his wife Israa had not been in touch with him for eight days. The 34-year-old stated that she had paid $4,500 (4,124 euros) to travel by boat and shown a picture of her on his phone.

The victims’ bodies were sent to a cemetery close to Athens for DNA tests because the search effort had not turned up any bodies in more than 24 hours. According to government authorities, the odds of recovering the sunken ship are slim because of the water’s depth.

Nine Egyptians were detained, according to a representative of the shipping ministry. According to eyewitnesses, the ship left Egypt and made a stop in the port of Tobruk, Libya, before sailing towards Italy, according to Greek TV Skai.

The 20–30 metre (65–100 foot) boat may have held 750 people, according to a European rescue-support organisation. Initial indications suggested that up to 400 individuals may be aboard, according to the International Organisation for Migration of the United Nations. The UNHCR, the country’s refugee agency, reported that hundreds may be missing.

“The shipwreck off Pylos marks one of the largest sea tragedies in the Mediterranean in recent memory,” Maria Clara, the UNHCR representative in Greece, told Reuters.

Pope Francis was “deeply dismayed to learn of the shipwreck… with its devastating loss of life,” the Vatican said in a statement. Pope Francis visited Greece two years ago to raise awareness of the situation of refugees.

Independent activist for refugees Nawal Soufi claimed in a Facebook post that she spoke with migrants on the ship from early on Tuesday morning until 11 p.m.

“The whole time they asked me what they should do and I kept telling them that Greek help would come. In this last call, the man I was talking to expressly told me: ‘I feel that this will be our last night alive,'” she wrote.

One of the main entry points for refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa is Greece.

Hundreds of people were seen on the boat’s upper and lower decks looking up in the hours before it sank, according to aerial photos given by Greek officials. Some of them had their arms raised.

Numerous leftist protesters gathered in Athens and Thessaloniki in the north on Thursday night to call for a relaxation of EU immigration laws. Athens police used tear gas to disperse a group of demonstrators who had been throwing petrol bombs at them.

Protesters in Kalamata marched in front of the refuge for migrants. “Crocodile tears! No to the EU’s pact on migration,” read one banner.

According to socialist Greek leader Alexis Tsipras, who served as prime minister from 2015 to 2019 during the height of Europe’s migration crisis, EU immigration policy “turns the Mediterranean, our seas, into watery graves,” he said during a visit to Kalamata on Thursday.

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