By Sara Ahmed
Amidst an escalating and global refugee crisis, three fishing boats carrying migrants were intercepted on the Alexandrian shore on Sunday, according to the military.
Around 245 individuals were caught, of whom 17 crew members were arrested, during the operation, announced the official spokesman of the Egyptian armed forces Colonel Mohamed Samir.
Samir told Daily News Egypt that similar attempts at illegal immigration are also detrimental to the countries to which the refugees are heading. He noted that neighbouring countries have complained of the influx of refugees and of the terrorism threats that could ensue.
According to Samir, “cooperation of all countries and cooperation in the procedures” are necessary to prevent illegal immigration in the future.
The statement, which was made on the Egyptian’s armed forces’ Facebook page and official website, refrained from commenting on the identities of the migrants or when the event took place.
However, pictures posted online by the military show men either sitting on the ground of a harbor or sitting on a docked boat without life-jackets or proper safety apparel. The pictures were also devoid of women and children.
Nevertheless, it is apparent from the pictures posted that those apprehended were of “various African nationalities”. Colonel Samir mentioned that there were no Egyptians on board.
The Egyptian navy, which reserves the right to halt vessels and board them for inspection, says the fishing boats were spotted by navy patrol.
According to the statement, the individuals and crew were taken to a naval base where they were provided with “medical care” before an investigation takes place into the incident.
The UN High Commission for Refugees released an online statement on Saturday, in which it stated that “more than 300,000 people have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean”, of whom more than 2,600 did not survive the journey.