NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Authorities on Greece’s island of Crete say 70 migrants have been removed from a yacht and detained after entering Greek waters.
The migrants, including 20 children, were being taken Tuesday in three coast guard vessels to the port of Kissamos, on the western part of the island, officials from the Merchant Marine Ministry said.
Greece is grappling with a surge in migrant arrivals in recent months on the islands and at its land border with Turkey. The fresh influx has worsened overcrowding at state-run camps and prompted the government to open new sites.
A spokeswoman for the United Nations’ refugee agency says the bodies of nine Syrian migrants who drowned off Cyprus’ northern coast have been buried in the breakaway north of the ethnically divided island.
Emilia Strovolidou told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the nine men died earlier this month in what the United Nations refugee agency said was the first shipwreck off Cyprus involving migrants.
She said most of the nine, who hailed from the Syrian town of Idlib, were identified by relatives living in the island’s southern, internationally recognized part.
Strovolidou said the Syrians had reportedly taken a boat from Turkey on May 10 to join relatives in Cyprus.
The U.N. refugee agency has said approximately 1,900 migrants came to Cyprus in 40 boat trips since 2015.