Greece: Migrants rescued from stranded trawler

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2011 6:46 PM
Greece: Migrants rescued from stranded trawler

Greece's coast guard rescued 92 people, believed to be illegal immigrants, on Friday from a disabled trawler in rough seas off southern Greece, authorities said.

The coast guard said the trawler was believed to be heading from the Egyptian port of Alexandria to Italy and suffered engine failure in near-gale conditions.

It was located 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the island of Kythera, after patrol boats, passing merchant ships, a rescue helicopter and a military transport aircraft were involved in the rescue operation.

The suspected illegal immigrants were safely transported to a nearby U.S.-flagged research vessel, the Atlantis, the coast guard said. The Atlantis was instructed to sail to the southern Greek port of Kalamata.

Debt-crippled Greece is a main gateway for illegal immigration into the European Union. Tens of thousands of people, mostly from Asia and Africa, are arrested on the country's borders every year.

Over the past two months, 10 men drowned or froze to death trying to cross the northeastern border with Turkey.