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Greek Coast Guard Pursues Vessel Smuggling Immigrants

Greek-coast-guardA pursuit between a Turkish smuggler vessel and a patrol boat of the Greek Coast Guard on Thursday morning in the sea area of Oinousses, in the north-eastern Aegean Sea, led to the injury of three illegal immigrants, who were hiding on the smuggler’s boat.
The Greek Coast Guard, which was patrolling in Greek waters, after having spotted a Turkish vessel carrying 13 illegal immigrants, tried to approach the boat, but the Turkish captain picked up speed in an effort to escape.
According to reports by the Coast Guard, the captain of the vessel rammed the Greek boat and then tried to escape, with Greek officers firing a warning shot in the air so as to intimidate the smuggler. Upon catching up speed, the Coast Guard officers shot at the engine of the Turkish boat, with some bullets missing their target, thus injuring three of the passengers on-board, a 19-year-old girl and two men, aged 30 and 45.
The officers jumped on the smuggler’s boat and arrested the trafficker. The injured immigrants were transferred to the hospital of the surrounding Greek island of Chios, where they are treated for bullet wounds to the lower part of their bodies. All immigrants are out of danger.
Another version of the story, which describes the Coast Guard officers shooting at the boat after receiving fire from the fleeing vessel is also being investigated by the Greek Coast Guard.
According to the Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine, the Turkish smuggler had driven the same route from the coast of Asia Minor to Chios in the early morning hours, illegally transporting fourteen more immigrants to Greece.
The Greek Coast Guard has been in the spotlight recently and is currently under investigation for its tactics after the Farmakonisi incident that took place a couple of months ago and resulted in the death of 12 illegal immigrants.

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