A total of 64 foreign nationals, all males, were rescued by a Vietnam-flagged freighter on Saturday from a dilapidated craft first located 43 nautical miles south of Crete – the latest instance of migrant smuggling along a so-called “south route” that commences from the North Africa coast and targets Greece or Italy.
The would-be migrants were later transferred to a coast guard vessel and then transported to the port of Irakleio, Crete by coast guard officers.
According to reports, the craft set off from the Libyan port of Tobruk on Thursday, with Greece being the final destination of the clandestine journey. The coast guard said the foreign nationals paid between 4,500 to 5,000 USD to be smuggled onto EU territory.
At least one arrest was reported so far on migrant smuggling charges.
Earlier, another 34 foreign nationals were located on the southern coast of Crete, near the town of Sfakia, after having disembarked from another migrant boat.
Two suspects in this case were arrested for migrant smuggling.
The last instance of migrant smuggling, again in a sea region off Crete, came in the early morning hours of Saturday, with 72 foreign nationals picked up by the Hellenic Navy frigate Kanaris some 46 nautical miles south of the large island. At least a dozen of the irregular migrants were reported as under 18.
The craft carrying the would-be migrants had also departed from Tobruk and was headed for Greece.