The Greek coastguard rescued 108 migrants off the island of Mykonos on Sunday onboard a sailboat that sent a distress signal late on Saturday.
A search and rescue operation is ongoing for four missing migrants, officials say.
A coastguard vessel located the sailboat about 1.8 nautical miles southeast of Delos near Mykonos. Due to strong winds and incoming water on the migrants’ vessel, a tow boat pulled the sailboat to Agios Georgios islet west of Mykonos from where the migrants were transferred to Mykonos port.
The nationality of the 108 rescued migrants, among them 24 women and 21 children, had not yet been determined, coastguard officials said. None wore life vests.
“Once more, Greece’s coastguard saved lives that ruthless migrant trafficker rings expose to fatal danger without any protection measures,” said Greek Shipping Minister Yannis Plakiotakis.
Greece is the main route for migrants from Turkey to the EU
Greece is the main route into the European Union for asylum-seekers arriving from Turkey. The number of arrivals has fallen sharply since 2016.
In April, Greece announced a massive drop in the number of migrants and asylum seekers in the country, particularly on the Aegean islands.
Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarakis said that the population of migrants on the North Aegean islands dropped from 6.41 percent of the total population in March 2021 to just 1.13 percent in March 2022.
“All regions of the country are well below the 1 percent threshold we had set as our target in 2019; soon the North Aegean will follow suit,” said Mitarakis.
He added: “The strict but fair migration policy that we apply consistently, has allowed us, today, to draw a very different map concerning migration. The substantial decongestion of the islands, the mainland and the large urban centers continues. Now, we are leaving the migration crisis behind us for good.”
Greek authorities released a report according to which the number of refugee and migrant residents overall on the islands as of March 2022 recorded a reduction by 78 percent compared to March 2021.