Greek Coast Guard Says Refugees Waved Off Ionian Sea Rescue

ATHENS – Notwithstanding accusations of pushing back refugees and migrants, Greece’s Coast Guard said it offered to save a group in trouble on the Ionian Sea but that they refused to be helped.

There were at least 56 people on board a sailboat that ran into high winds near the island of Kefalonia, the Coast Guard said, without explaining why they didn’t want to be rescued by Greek forces.

“All through the day, the migrants radioed back that they would not accept any assistance from nearby vessels and from the Greek authorities,” the Coast Guard said in a statement, reported Agence France-Presse.

It was only after nightfall, and with weather conditions worsening, that the migrants agreed to be picked up by a passing Singapore-flagged tanker and taken to the Greek port of Igoumenitsa, but their nationality wasn’t given.


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