Greece is currently talking to officials from Pakistan and Bangladesh in the hopes of arranging a way for migrants from the two countries to return home after a cargo ship they were traveling on docked at Kos Port on Friday and the people on it asked for asylum.
The Greek migration ministry said that the migrants were “not entitled to asylum” from the countries and that they would like to find a way for them to safely return home in collaboration with their home nations. The cargo ship contained 381 migrants, 250 of which were from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Turkish-flagged ship, known as Murat 729, stopped running off the coast of Crete after its engines failed and was subsequently towed by the Greek Coast Guard to the port of Kos. The ship was allowed allowed to dock on Greek territory despite charges that Turkey had violated a migrant deal.
INTERSOS, an Italian NGO working with people threatened by natural disasters or violent outbreaks in their home countries, said that the ship contained 192 Pakistanis, 112 Afghans, 56 Bangladeshis, five Egyptians, four Lebanese, four Syrians, and two Iranians.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis posted a message on Twitter on Monday saying that: “A double effort is underway. We need to reach an agreement with the countries of origin so that the majority of those aboard the ship that started from Turkey and arrived in Kos due to damage return to Pakisan and Bangladesh.”
Turkey fails to comply with EU migrant deal, Greece says
“Turkey once again failed to comply with its responsibilities towards the EU,” Giannis Plakiotakis, the merchant marine minister, said Saturday.
The European Union and Ankara signed a deal in March 2016 where Turkey was to sharply reduce the flow of migrants through its territory to the EU countries Bulgaria and Greece in return for billions of euros in financial aid.
Both Greece and Turkey have accused the other of failing to honor the agreement sealed after more than a million migrants and asylum seekers, many from the civil war in Syria, entered the EU in 2015.
Plakiotakis said Turkey “won’t accept the return of the Turkish-flagged ship that sailed off a Turkish port.”
He added that the ship set sail “obviously with the knowledge of the Turkish Coast Guard and (Turkey) continues to have no regard for human lives.”
The Greek islands of the eastern Aegean are a first EU port of call for waves of migrants and asylum seekers coming via Turkey.
On Tuesday, four migrants, two of them children, drowned after a boat sank off the island of Chios. The boat was carrying 27 African migrants when it capsized and sank.
The vessel had set out from Turkey amid strong winds, and none of the occupants had been given a life vest by the smugglers, the Greek Coast Guard said in a statement.