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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsMigrant Boat Disaster: New Questions Raised Over Greece's Response

Migrant Boat Disaster: New Questions Raised Over Greece’s Response

Migrant Boat Disaster Off Greece
The migrant boat was stationary new information obtained by the BBC claims. Credit: Hellenic Coast Guard

Questions were raised over Greece’s official response to the migrant boat disaster last week that claimed the lives of hundreds of people. Pakistan says 300 of its citizens perished in the Ionian Sea.

About 750 men, women and children were on the packed boat when it capsized last week, the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) said, killing hundreds and making the tragedy one of the worst in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.

New evidence obtained by the British broadcaster BBC raises questions about the Greek coast guard’s version of events surrounding the sinking after it obtained computer animation of tracking data from MarineTraffic, a maritime analytics platform.

An analysis of the movements of other vessels in the vicinity based on the data indicates that the overcrowded fishing boat had been stationary for at least seven hours before it overturned.

This contradicts the Greek coast guard’s assertion that the boat was heading towards Italy and did not require assistance during that time.

In light of the new information, the United Nations has called for an investigation into Greece’s handling of the disaster. There are concerns that more decisive action should have been taken earlier to initiate a comprehensive rescue operation.

Greek officials maintain that those on board the vessel said they did not want help and were not in immediate danger until moments before their boat sank.

The Greek caretaker government issued a statement saying that a thorough investigation of the real facts and complex technical judgments is taking place.

“The government listens, notes and carefully evaluates all the relevant information and opinions, but its position is that it is left to the relevant institutions within a state governed by the rule of law, and in particular to the independent judiciary, to issue a final institutional judgment.

“It goes without saying that the Ministry of Shipping & Island Policy will continue to provide updates, information and further clarifications about the shipwreck,” the Greek government said.

More than 300 Pakistanis killed in migrant boat disaster off Greece

More than 300 Pakistani nationals have been killed in the sinking of the overcrowded migrant boat off the coast of Greece, Pakistani officials announced on Sunday.

The chairman of Pakistan’s Senate, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, disclosed the numbers in a statement Sunday, sending condolences to grieving families of the dead.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we pray that the departed souls find eternal peace,” Sanjrani said. “This devastating incident underscores the urgent need to address and condemn the abhorrent act of illegal human trafficking.”

Greek authorities have yet to confirm Pakistan’s death toll.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared Monday a national day of mourning for those who died in the boat’s sinking.

In a tweet Sunday, he ordered a “high-level inquiry” into the incident.

“I assure the nation that those found negligent towards their duty will be held to account. Responsibility will be fixed after the inquiry and heads will roll,” Sharif wrote.

Ten suspects allegedly involved in Wednesday’s migrant boat disaster in Greece have been arrested in Pakistan.

Suspects arrested in Pakistan

According to the Pakistani news website The News, Sajid Mehmood, the prime suspect of the capsized boat tragedy, was arrested at Karachi airport while he was trying to flee to Azerbaijan. He was reportedly ordered off the plane after his name appeared on the stop-list of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

An announcement by FIA said that the suspect was allegedly involved in smuggling people to Europe via Greece and Libya, as well as in a previous incident with a capsized migrant boat in Libya in March.

Ten suspects allegedly involved in Wednesday’s migrant boat disaster in Greece – one of the deadliest migrant disasters in the Mediterranean – have been arrested in Pakistan.

Rescuers on Wednesday saved 104 passengers and recovered 78 bodies, while hundreds more are fearer dead – including some 100 women and children who were locked in the hold at the time of the sinking.

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