Regarding Rescue of Irregular Migrants by Greek Assets On a Cameroon-Flagged Merchant Vessel
In the early hours on 29 October 2021, it was learned that a so-called Turkish-flagged merchant vessel which was drifted at the sea area East of Crete Island due to engine breakdown and having 400 irregular migrants on board within the Greek Search and Rescue Zone requested help and the vessel was stepped in by the Greek Coast Guard.
In response to the referral made to the Turkish Coast Guard Command by the Greek authorities stating that the aforementioned vessel should be taken back by Turkey within the claim that it was so-called Turkish flagged;
1- The health status of 400 irregular migrants on board of the aforementioned vessel is concerned about by The Turkish Coast Guard Command,
2-Considering that the merchant vessel requested help and the incident occured within the Greek responsibility area, the necessary humanitarian aid should be provided by Greece as soon as possible,
3- Contrary to the claim, the merchant vessel is not Turkish-flagged, however Cameroon-flagged and necessary humanitarian aid should be provided as soon as possible for everyone who needs help at sea within the scope of rules of international law regardless of flag nationality,
were reported to the Greek Authorities.
While it was expected that the aforementioned vessel which was in danger at sea and in need of help would be transferred to the Crete Island, the closest port, by the Greek authorities and the safety of the people on board would be ensured to be taken first in accordance with the rules of international law, on the contrary, the vessel was towed 180 nautical miles (approximately 350 km) and transferred to off the coast of Bodrum on 30 October 2021. In case of a possible pushback activity, 2 Turkish Coast Guard Boats and 1 Mobile Radar have been deployed at the sea area.
It has been learned that the irregular migrants, who stranded at sea for more than 48 hours, were transferred to Kos Island on 31 October 2021 according to open source data.
Turkish Coast Guard Command is ready to help anyone who in need at sea 24 hours a day 7 days a week by respecting human rights and the law.
Respectfully announced to the public.