Migrant shipwreck death toll rises as Greek coastguard denies media claims

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Three more bodies were found off southern Greece, as the number of confirmed victims from the tragic migrant shipwreck rose to 81 on Monday. Only 104 people are known to have survived.

This comes after the Hellenic Coast Guard released a statement on Monday rejecting claims made by domestic and international media that the fishing vessel carrying migrants to Italy was not moving for several hours before capsizing.

A survivor of a shipwreck gestures outside a warehouse at the port in Kalamata town, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of Athens, on Thursday, June 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, from the moment the vessel was first identified in the early hours of June 13, it sailed more than 24 nautical miles. The statement mentioned that two tanker vessels approached the fishing boat while it was sailing and offered food and water to those on board.

“From the moment the supply of the vessel was complete to its immobilisation due to mechanical failure, the vessel covered a distance of approximately 6 nautical miles. Overall, this particular vessel, from the moment it was located to its capsizing, covered a distance of approximately 30 nautical miles,” the statement mentioned.

Survivors of a shipwreck sit at a warehouse at the port in Kalamata town. Photo: www.argolikeseidhseis.gr via AP.

Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that the suspected migrant smugglers are expected to face manslaughter charges in a Greek court this week, while Pakistan detained a dozen suspects over the disaster.

Lawyers for nine suspected smugglers held by Greece, all from Egypt, sought and were granted a postponement of their arraignment hearing to Tuesday morning, the semi-official Athens News Agency said.

Sources: Ekathimerini, Reuters.

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