ATHENS, GREECE (AP) — A yacht carrying dozens of migrants who sent distress calls in heavy weather off the southern tip of mainland Greece has been towed safely to port, the Greek coast guard said Friday. There were no reports of injuries or missing persons.
An extensive search-and-rescue operation was launched after the ship made a distress call while en route about 3 nautical miles (3.4 miles, 5.5 kilometers) south of Cape Maleas in the southern Peloponnese, the Coast Guard said.
The vessel was safely towed to a nearby port early Friday morning and was found to have 75 people on board, 69 men and 6 women. Authorities were not immediately able to obtain information about the nationalities of the passengers, where the ship had departed from, or its destination.
Thousands of people flee conflict and poverty in Africa, Asia and the Middle East each year trying to enter the EU via Greece.
Most people head for the eastern Greek islands in small rubber boats from the nearby Turkish coast, but more and more people are using larger boats such as yachts and yachts to try to bypass Greece and go straight to Italy. Root is also deadly.
Earlier this month, at least 27 people drowned in two separate incidents of migrant ships sinking in Greek waters.
In one incident, a boat from Turkey sank on the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos, killing 18 people. A few hours ago, a yacht carrying about 100 migrants sank in strong winds, killing at least nine and leaving six missing.
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