Greece’s Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis said on Monday that efforts were underway to repatriate the Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals who arrived in the country as migrants on board the Turkish-flagged cargo ship rescued on Sunday.
Minister Mitarakis said that “for me it is a top priority to agree with the Ambassadors of Pakistan and Bangladesh” so that “the persons not entitled to international protection be returned.”
He added that has also asked the European Union to take action.
According to migration ministry sources, of the 375 passengers on board the cargo ship who have been transferred to the reception and identification center on the island of Kos, 250 are from Pakistan or Bangladesh. Another 112 are from Afghanistan and the rest are from Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Egypt.
Mitarakis said that 140 claim to be minors and that the government has “asked the International Organization for Migration to send a medical team specializing in age assessment” to verify their claims.
The Turkish-flagged cargo ship suffered engine failure while sailing in international waters near the island of Crete and in a huge rescue operation the Greek Coast Guard towed it to Kos with .376 people on board.