A boat carrying migrants in Greece | Photo: Getty Images/M.Bicanski
A boat carrying migrants in Greece | Photo: Getty Images/M.Bicanski

Greek authorities have charged three people with murder following the death of 16 migrants after a boat overturned in the Aegean Sea last Friday.

Three people have been charged with murder in Greece following the death of 16 migrants who were killed when a boat from Turkey to Italy capsized near the Greek island of Paros on Friday (December 24).

The suspects, who are between 31 and 40 years old, were among the 63 people rescued following the tragedy. They were charged with causing an accident at sea, intentional manslaughter and membership in a criminal organization, the coast guard said.

Mounting deaths in Aegean Sea

At least 30 migrants died at sea in three separate incidents in Greek waters last week, and more than 160 were rescued, including those from the accident near Paros.

Another boat sank after it struck an islet near the Greek island of Antikythera on Thursday (December 23), leaving 90 survivors stranded overnight. A rescue mission could not immediately be carried out due to bad weather condition. Later, 11 bodies were recovered.

Late last Tuesday (December 21), a boat carrying migrants sank off Folegandros, a small island in the Aegean Sea. The incident left at least three people dead with dozens more missing. The Greek coast guard confirmed that they had rescued 12 people, including children who were taken to a hospital on the island of Santorini. 

Greek government vows crackdown on smugglers

Over the weekend, Merchant Marine Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis described the smugglers as "ruthless killers" who are cramming people onto unseaworthy boats and failing to hand out life vests -- even to underage passengers.

Smugglers are now seeking to avoid Greek islands near the Turkish coastline, which is heavily being patroled by the coast guard and the European Union border protection agency, Frontex.

However, following the recent deadly incidents, Greece's immigration minister, Notis Mitarachi, called on Turkey to do more to prevent boats setting off from its shores.

with AP


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