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News > Greece

Three Days of National Mourning for Shipwreck Victims in Greece

  • Refugees/migrants rescued at a makeshift first aid center in the port of Kalamata. Jun. 14, 2023.

    Refugees/migrants rescued at a makeshift first aid center in the port of Kalamata. Jun. 14, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@savvaskarma

Published 14 June 2023

The national mourning will be in force until 21.00 on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Greece's acting Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the shipwreck that occurred early Wednesday on the high seas off the Greek coast.

Death Toll Rises to 78 After Refugee Boat Sinks Off Greece

According to a statement issued by the prime minister's press office, the national mourning begins at 21:00 on Wednesday, June 14, and will be in effect until 21:00 on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

"Everyone's thoughts are with all the victims of the ruthless traffickers who prey on human misery," Sarmas said. According to authorities, the death toll stands at 79, and 104 people have been rescued. 

Hundreds of migrants are considered missing and feared dead after a 30-meter fishing boat carrying an undetermined number of passengers wrecked about 50 miles southwest of the coastal town of Pylos in southern Greece.

Twenty-eight survivors of the shipwreck are hospitalized with symptoms of hypothermia or injuries. The survivors are male, young, and middle-aged.

Nikolaos Alexiou, spokesman for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Island Policy, told Greek national broadcaster ERT that the search and rescue operation to locate others on board will continue through the night.

However, the recovery of bodies from the wreck is considered almost impossible due to the sea depth of 4,500 meters.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who has traveled to the nearby town of Kalamata, where survivors are being transferred, expressed her deep sorrow over the tragedy. The president called for "the coordination of EU member states to safeguard the lives and safety of migrants and refugees." 

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 72,778 refugees have arrived in Europe so far this year from the south, 71,136 of them by sea to Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, and Malta. At least 1,037 people have died or gone missing in the region since the beginning of 2023. 

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