Greek authorities locate suspected migrant smuggling boat

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A sailboat believed to be carrying dozens of migrants has been located drifting south of the southern Greek island of Crete, Greece’s coast guard said Thursday.

One coast guard patrol boat and one coast guard lifeboat were near the sailboat, which was located in the morning and hadn’t issued a distress signal, the coast guard said. The vessel was drifting but it wasn’t immediately clear whether it had a propulsion or steering problem. The coast guard said estimates put the number of people on board at around 60.

Thousands of migrants make their way to Greece each year, the vast majority from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands.

But Greek authorities have reported an increase in the number of incidents where smugglers use larger vessels like yachts or sailboats to sail further south and head directly toward Italy. The country is a more attractive destination for many than the overcrowded, squalid migrant camps on the Greek islands.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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