AFP – Greek authorities have made more arrests over the boat tragedy that left 12 migrants dead, including four children, after an alleged attempt to smuggle them to Italy, the coastguard said Sunday.
“A 34-year-old foreign national and a 53-year-old woman have been arrested as members of a criminal organisation illegally smuggling migrants,” the coastguard said in a statement.
A 58-year-old foreign national – the captain of the eight-metre (26-foot) fibreglass boat that sank off a small western mainland Greek coastal town early on Friday – and a 20-year-old Greek had already been arrested.
The Ionian Sea tragedy involved 27 migrants, whose nationalities are still unknown.
Fifteen survived the tragedy off Lefkada and they were taken to hospitals on the island and in the nearby city of Preveza.
Greece is one of the main ports of entry into the European Union for migrants and refugees fleeing war-torn and impoverished countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
Refugee traffic has soared over the past year because of the ongoing war in Syria. Arrivals by sea have increased owing to stricter controls on the Greek-Turkish northern land border.
Europe’s immigration policies have come under the spotlight after more than 400 asylum seekers drowned in October in two tragedies near another popular migrant port of entry, the Italian island of Lampedusa.