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Tanker with about 190 Migrants Runs aground on Greek Island, Shipping Min Sends Tugboat

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Marcos Moreno, FILE)

ATHENS — A tanker carrying around 190 migrants run aground in rough weather just outside the port on the Cycladic island of Kea, near the Greek capital, the coast guard said Monday.

The tanker hit the outside of the breakwater at the port in the early hours of the morning, in gale-force winds and rough seas. All passengers managed to disembark of their own accord, and were being temporarily housed by the municipality in a local hotel, the coast guard said.

Further details on the tanker weren't available. It was unclear where the ship had sailed from and what its intended destination was.

While thousands of migrants head to eastern Aegean Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast, they generally use inflatable dinghies. Kea, the Cycladic island nearest the Greek capital, is far from the Turkish coast. It is rare, though not unprecedented, for migrant smugglers to use cargo ships or tankers to ferry migrants to Greece.

Plakiotakis sends tugboat to Kea to assist in detachment of ship with refugees

At the orders of Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis, a tugboat has been sent to Kea to assist in pulling free a ship carrying 190 refugees and migrants, which has run aground near the island's harbour.

There are 123 men, 29 women and 38 children on board the cargo ship that got stuck at dawn off the coast of Kea.

According to sources, the ship had sailed from the Turkish port of Canakkale and was heading to Italy when rough seas forced it to run aground at the Greek island. Authorities say that three traffickers are among the passengers.

The migrants have been given temporary accommodation at a hotel on the island.