19 feared dead after shipwreck off Greek islands

Migrant boat capsizes 10 miles off Greek islands, leaving 18 people missing and feared dead and one confirmed victim

Some 19 people are feared to have drowned trying to reach Greece from Turkey, in what is being described as “the deadliest Mediterranean shipwreck since May,” according to The Guardian.

The smuggler’s boat, was carrying some 40 passengers and travelling between the Greek islands of Agathonisi and Farmakonisi, some miles off the Turkish coast, when it capsized on Tuesday morning.

According to reports, so far only one passenger has been confirmed dead, but 18 are still missing, while 21 passengers have been rescued.

The Guardian quotes a UN refuugee agency spokeswoman saying that the nationalities of the people in question is yet unknown.

The shipwreck is being described as the first major tragedy in the Mediterranean in over a month, after the EU increased its search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean region. However, rescue missions in the eastern area of the sea remain dismal, but migrant numbers have overtaken even the record arrival numbers in Italy.

The Guardian reports that over 68,000 migrants risked the short trip from Turkey to Greece in the first half of 2015. The migrants, hailed mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and numbers doubled the total arrivals for 2014.

Although the journey the migrants make from Turkey is less dangerous than that from Libya to Italy – but is still highly perilous, with most travelling in overcrowded inflatable dinghies that have just one air pocket, making deflation more likely. Reports show that more Syrians are risking the journey to Greece, in part because that to Italy from Libya has become harder and riskier. The Libyan civil war has made travel within its borders more dangerous. Meanwhile, Libya’s neighbours, Egypt and Algeria, have made it more difficult to travel through their territory to reach Libyan soil.