Greece is stepping up deterrence measures at the sea border to Turkey as the government expects the pressure at the Evros borders to be transferred to the northeast Aegean islands. The Greek Navy issued a Restricted Navigation Warning (NAVTEX) for the sea areas within the Greek territorial waters and for around the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos.
The NaVTEX allows navigation to Frontex and NATO vessels as well as commercial ships equipped with all necessary documents, however, it restricts it to all other ships like yachts and touristic bots, fishing boats, and, of course, traffickers’ dinghy and other sailing means carrying migrants and refugees to Greece.
The NAVTEX was issued on request of the Greek Coast Guard, media report. The restriction was issued on March 2, but it was made known to the broader public short before Thursday. noon.
“The Restricted Navigation Sea areas are established within the Greek territorial sea around the islands of Lesvos-Chios-Samos in accordance with the data of the attached tables, describing the edge of the islands coastline, bearing up to the boundaries of the Greek territorial sea,” the Hellenic Navy said in its statement.
The NATEX warning is in effect from March 2 to March 12, 2020 and on 24-hour basis.
According to the warning, excluded from the navigation restrictions are vessels of the Frontex Operation “Poseidon”, NATO Aegean Activity, as well as merchant ships for commercial purposes provided that they have all certificates for their sea worthiness.
#Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service Navtex 391/2020 Restricted Navigation Sea Areas Are Established Within The #Greek Territorial Sea Around Islands #LESVOS #CHIOS #SAMOS#GreeceDefendsEurope pic.twitter.com/wmKVQxh1dL
— AegeanHawk (@AegeanHawk) March 5, 2020
PS Will the NAVTEX prevent traffickers carrying refugees and migrants to Greece? KTG understands that the NATEX theoretically it may give Greece the right to push-backs in the sea, even though these are prohibited by international law.