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Many dead as refugee vessels sink in Greek waters before Christmas


Greece has been at the forefront of the refugee and migrant influx since 2015. Hundreds have perished in the Aegean Sea in the past six years.

At least a dozen of people have lost their lives before Christmas Eve while their vessels, carrying refugees and migrants heading for Europe, sank in Greek waters.

Two bodies have been retrieved as a rescue operation was underway Friday night near the Aegean Sea island of Paros, after the sinking of a vessel carrying refugees and migrants, according to Greek media reports.

So far, 57 passengers have been rescued, with survivors stating that about 80 people were on board, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Photo taken on March 2, 2020 shows refugees and migrants coming off a boat after arrival at Skala Sikaminias, in the island of Lesvos, Greece. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

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Earlier, the Hellenic Coast Guard announced that the death toll of the sinking of a refugee and migrant sailing boat on Thursday off the island of Antikythera on the edge of the Aegean Sea has reached 11.

Ninety passengers were rescued and transferred to Piraeus port, according to an e-mailed press statement.

The Greek authorities also announced on Wednesday that a similar boat sank near Folegandros island. Three people lost their lives, 13 were rescued and an unknown number of people were missing.

Greece has been at the forefront of the refugee and migrant influx since 2015. Hundreds have perished in the Aegean Sea in the past six years.

A boat (R) with refugees and migrants arrives at Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos, Greece, Feb. 29, 2020.  (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Published : December 25, 2021

By : Xinhua