Shipwreck near Paros: 63 people rescued by Hellenic Coast Guard and imprisoned at the Amygdaleza detention center, at least 16 drowned, 3 survivors facing criminal charges
Fri Dec 24 2021
Number of people: 79-91
We get notified about a sinking boat north of Paros, with 88 people on board, some of whom are in the water already. We get the phone numbers of 3 of the people on board.
We manage to reach one of the people on board, who is extremely distressed and screaming down the phone. He tells us he is already in the water.
We email the Hellenic Coast Guard to inform them of the shipwreck.
We call the Hellenic Coast Guard with the same information that was given in the email.
We call the Hellenic Coast Guard again to tell them that the person who's number we gave them is in the water and might not be reachable. The officer is stressed and shouting that too many people are calling about this boat and he is unable to do his job like this.
We see that some merchant vessels are close by and try to contact them by phone but do not manage to get through.
The Hellenic Coast Guard informs us via phone that the rescue mission is ongoing, the officer seems nervous and is shouting down the phone, eventually he hangs up. We confirm the ongoing rescue with the people in distress who report that two vessels are at the scene, taking people out of the water.
We get a call from a family member who tells us 3 of her relatives were on the boat, we speak again later in the evening and find out her brother is alive.
We find out that two people have died and their bodies have been found.
We can no longer reach any of the people on board of the boat via phone.
One person we are in touch with says they worry that around 30 people are missing according to Greek media reports.
We call the Hellenic Coast Guard. However, they refuse to give us any information about which port people will be taken to. They tell us to check in the media as it will be announced there.
We publish a tweet with a link to Greek Media.
The Hellenic Coast Guard publishes an own press release about the shipwreck: https://www.hcg.gr/el/drasthriothtes/gigantiaia-epixeirhsh-ereynas-kai-diaswshs-allodapwn-sth-8alassia-perioxh-boreiodytika-n-paroy/
We find out that people will be taken to disembark at Paros. Once again, we try to receive information from the Hellenic Coast Guard about the names of the survivors. But the coast guard in Pireaus won't give any information, except that the rescue mission is ongoing. We have a list of names of people on board the shipwreck and their friends and family have asked to see if they are alive - but there is obviously no authority that coordinates the search of the relatives for information.
We call again to Piraeus in order to ask for an update on the rescue, but they only say that it is ongoing and nothing more. They agree to give us the number for their Press Office for this case.
We speak with an officer at the camp where the survivors were taken to. He tells us that 16 people have died.
Greek media confirms survivors will be taken to Athens: https://cyclades24.gr/2021/12/metanastes-dinoun-9-000-evro-to-atomo-kai-tous-pnigoun-sto-aigaio/
Greek media state 3 people will be charged with trafficking: https://www.skai.gr/news/greece/nayagio-paros-synelifthisan-tria-atoma-gia-paranomi-metafora-metanaston
We manage to speak with one of the survivors who tells us that everyone apart from those accused of trafficking/boat driving were brought to the Amygdaleza prison near Athens and are being detained there. He tells us that the boat left from Turkey on 23.12. and ran into trouble after 8 hours, and after 10 hours both engines had stopped working. The boat started to sink and people in the back did not survive, everyone went into the water. They believe 18 people died. He tells us 3 people were from Afghanistan and everyone else was from Syria and Palestine.