Greek Coast Guard, Navy and merchant vessels conducted a rescue operation within Greek territorial waters on Tuesday, with two Turkish coast guard boats trying to obstruct the mission.
Specifically, a boat with 96 migrants and refugees left Bodrum, Turkey and off Rhodes, about 21 nm miles west of Halki, emitted a SOS.
The Joint Search and Rescue Coordination Center received the signal and a large search-and-rescue operation was set up.
Four patrol boats, a lifeboat, a Navy ship and five merchant ships rushed to the area, while an Air Force helicopter and a Navy helicopter took off for the spot.
The large operation, however, was accompanied by two Turkish Coast Guard boats, that, according to the OPEN television correspondent in Rhodes, did not hesitate to endanger human lives, as the operation was already underway and inside Greek waters.
The Turkish vessels ignored the Greek Navy’s repeated calls to leave the area. According to the OPEN correspondent, the Turkish boats boarded 19 people and headed to the south coast of Turkey, not hesitating to separate family members.
Among the rest of the passengers who were rescued and transported to Rhodes were some who were lightly injured.