Greek authorities say they have picked up a group of 30 people from a wooden boat that had lost steering and was drifting close to the rocky coast of a small islet north of Crete, in the latest case of boats carrying migrants running into trouble in southern Greece.
The wooden motorboat was eventually located near the uninhabited islet of Gramvousa, just off the northwestern tip of Crete.
It was the latest of several migrant boats that have run into trouble and ended up on southern Greek islands in recent days.
Over the weekend, the coast guard announced it had picked up 69 people on Friday from a sailboat that was drifting and had sent out a distress signal 26 nautical miles (30 miles, 48 kilometres) southwest of the Ionian island of Zakythnos.
The six Turks were arrested on suspicion of migrant smuggling.
But with Greek authorities increasing patrols in the area and facing persistent reports of pushbacks — summary and illegal deportations of new arrivals back to Turkey without allowing them to apply for asylum — more people are attempting to circumvent Greece and head directly to Italy.
Greece denies it carries out pushbacks, but insists it robustly protects its borders.
“No new tactic by smugglers and no new maneuver by Turkey will change our stance,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a speech at the start of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where he also touched on migration.
“We save the innocent, we protect our borders, and the other side should look at its own unguarded borders,” he said.
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