Greece: Coast guard arrests two migrants for people smuggling

Earlier this week, members of the Greek coast guard seized a sailboat and arrested two individuals for attempting to smuggle 37 illegal migrants into Italy.

On Tuesday, the coast guard reported having stopped a Ukrainian-flagged boat with 37 people on board in the Ionian Sea, not far from the island of Zakinthos on Monday morning, Ekathimerini reports.

The ship was then seized while the passengers were transported to the port in Zakinthos.

Although authorities have not released the nationalities of those on board, they did mention that they were investigating two of the suspects on board, only referred to as foreigners aged 35 and 49, who could be part of an international migrant smuggling organization. 

Hundreds and hundreds of illegal migrants continue to arrive in Greece from Turkey, many with dreams to head further north to Europe’s more prosperous welfare states. Since the Balkan route has been closed off by Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and others, many illegal migrants resort to the services of smugglers.

Last week, 540 illegal migrants found their way to Skala Sikamias in Lesbos. The event represents the largest number of migrant arrivals in a single day since the EU-Turkey agreement was signed in 2016. Today, Greece serves as the main entry point into Europe for Afghan, Iraqi, and Syrian migrants. 

The number of illegal migrant arrivals, which once averaged 60 per day, has now reached an average of 278 per day. This year alone, at least 22,000 migrants are believed to have landed in Greece.

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