ATHENS, Oct.31 (Reuters) – A Turkish-flagged freighter carrying 382 mostly Afghan migrants docked safely at a Greek island port early Sunday, two days after losing power in the Aegean Sea and sending a distress signal.
Six people among the country’s largest influx of migrants in years have been arrested after the ship, the Murat 729, was towed to the port of Kos by a Greek coastguard vessel, the Migration Ministry said.
The other arrivals were taken to a reception center on the island. Their stay at the center, where they will be treated and quarantined, will be temporary, the ministry said.
Greece has been the main route of entry into the European Union for asylum seekers from Turkey. The number of arrivals has fallen sharply since 2016 after the EU and Ankara reached an agreement to prevent migrants from crossing to Greece.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August, however, many EU states fear a repeat of the 2015 refugee crisis, when nearly a million people, mostly Syrian refugees, are arrived in the EU after crossing the Greek islands close to Turkey.
On Friday, the Greek Ministry of Navigation asked Turkey to accept the return of the troubled vessel.
On Tuesday, four migrants, including three children, drowned after a boat in which they and 23 others were trying to cross from Turkey to Greece sank off the island of Chios.
Reporting by George Georgiopoulos Editing by Clelia Oziel and John Stonestreet
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