After a boat heading to Italy carrying migrants sank about 47 nautical miles of Pylos, Greece, M/Y Mayan Queen IV assisted in the search and rescue operation. The 93.5-meter yacht transported 100 people to Kalamata, Greece, where their reception was organized with the General Secretariat of Civil Protection and they received medical attention, a Hellenic Coast Guard release says.
While it is unclear how many people were on board the fishing vessel at the time of the incident, at least 78 have drowned and hundreds more are missing, Reuters reports. The vessel had left from Libya, and it is believed that around 750 people were on board the 20- to 30-meter-long vessel.
The fishing vessel was spotted on June 13 around midday, and the Chamber of Operations made multiple calls to the vessel to provide assistance, which was denied, according to the Hellenic Coast Guard press release. Two other vessels approached to provide assistance and supplies, but they refused again.
Later that evening, a coastal patrol boat confirmed “the existence of a large number of migrants on the outer deck of the vessel, but denying any assistance and stating their desire to continue their voyage to Italy,” the release says. From 3:30 to 9 p.m., the operations room of the Ministry of Shipping had repeated contact with the fishing vessel via satellite phone and they repeatedly stated they didn’t want any assistance from Greece and wished to sail to Italy.
Then at 1:40 a.m. on June 14, someone on board informed the Headquarters Operation Center that the vessel’s engine had malfunctioned, and the boat had stopping moving. About 20 minutes later, the vessel overturned and eventually sank, which started a search and rescue operation.
According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, 104 people have been rescued and 78 bodies recovered as of June 15 at 2 p.m. local time.