Category: Arrival in Greece with Violence
Number of people: 32 (11 women, 11 children)
On 13 June 2020, the Alarm Phone receives a distress call from a boat in the North of Lesvos. The 32 travellers tell us that they were attacked by the Hellenic Coast Guard. They tried calling the emergency number 108, but no one picked up. They send us a picture that shows an Hellenic Coast Guard vessel next to them.
In a voice message, the group describe the three attacks that took place. In the first attack, the engine and petrol were stolen and one man was beaten up. In the second attack, they beat up many men and some of the women. In the third attack, they also attacked children and threatened to kill them all. The Turkish Coast Guard is also at scene, taking videos, but not intervening.
The location of the boat we receive is in Greek waters. At 6:34h CET we call the Hellenic Coast Guard in Piraeus and RSC Mytilene/Lesvos. We also include Frontex and NATO into the email conversation to make sure they are aware of the serious situation.
The group informs us about the numbers written on the boat standing nearby. They read ΛΣ080. In addition, they provide us with a new position, which we pass on to Piraeus at 8:54 CET. We also inform Piraeus of the existence of a Greek boat on scene and of the writing on the boat. The officer on the phone refuses to acknowledge the existence of the boat and quickly hangs up the phone. At this point, the Greek vessel ΛΣ080 is circling the boat, creating waves around it and causing more distress.
We call Greek and Turkish Cost Guards repeatedly. Both are denying responsibility and both insist that the boat is in the other country's territorial waters. Both claim that they are observing the situation. We publish another tweet.
We receive a voice message from the boat informing us that both the Turkish and Greek boats left the scene. They are reportedly just monitoring the situation from a distance.
We receive a new position and send another email to authorities. The group informs us that the boat has holes. Water is entering the boat.
They report that Turkish and Greek boats are just watching them.
We receive information that a Greek Lambro 57 coastal patrol boat is circling the boat and creating waves to push the boat into Turkish waters. On the phone, we hear people screaming.
The group sends us a video. They are at Sea for over 9 hours and still both Greek and Turkish deny being responsible for a rescue of the people in distress.
Another hour passes and there is no rescue on the horizon. The group informs us that the pregnant woman onboard fainted and is bleeding. There is also a child that is having difficulties breathing. There is no water or food left. We send another email to different authorities.
We know that the only boat on scene is an Hellenic Coast Guard vessel. We call Greek authorities, they claim again the boat is in Turkish waters. We inform the officer that the pregnant woman on board is bleeding and needs immediate medical assistance and that the only boat on the scene is a Greek boat. The officer denies responsibility, yet he promises to forward the information to his superiors.
We receive a new position, we call the Hellenic Coast Guard and inform them again of the medical situation of the woman, they hang up the phone.
We receive another call from the boat. We hear people crying.
We remain in close contact with the boat. The woman is having contractions. She is reportedly unconscious. When she regains consciousness, her body is shaking. The people on the boat think she is going to give birth any minute and don't know what to do.
People on the boat cannot see any boats close by. They are drifting closer to the Greek shore, according to the last position they sent us. The pregnant woman still needs help. We send another email to authorities. We lose contact with the boat at 19:51h CET, directly after the travellers mention that the Hellenic Coast Guard is approaching them. We learn from sources on Lesvos that the Hellenic Coast Guard conducted a rescue. We call the Hellenic Coast Guard in Piraeus and they confirm the rescue to Petra on Lesvos.
After 15 hours of non-assistance and serious attacks by the Hellenic Coast Guard the travellers finally reach Lesvos.